Video report by Joshua Stokes
New financial estimates from the Isle of Man government suggest the Covid-19 pandemic could cost the island up to £ 250million.
Treasury Minister Alfred Cannan MHK confirmed the figure after announcing his intention to borrow £ 400million.
During the pandemic, the Isle of Man suffered three separate lockdowns, but spent the majority of the time with little to no restrictions on the island.
However, one thing has remained constant, and these are border measures – remaining closed to tourists since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
This meant that business owners in the travel industry continued to suffer for over a year.
Rikki Dunnage is the owner of Island Travel.
He currently has a government wage assistance program that covers 50% of bill payments, but he said half remains unpaid.
But he also has a bar below the company, which he says has been crucial in keeping the travel agency in business.
Unlike the UK, pubs and restaurants are open and have remained open for many months while the island was ‘Covid-free’.
Chief Minister Howard Quayle said the plan was still to reopen the island to tourists on June 28.
This will see all remaining restrictions lifted, meaning anyone can enter the island for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
The island’s Treasury Minister will address Parliament to ask members to back £ 400million in government loans, but says he will not pay for the pandemic.
These funds will be used to cover loan refinancing, to pay for the new Steam Packet Company ferry, and to fund future government infrastructure projects.
He also said around £ 260million would be put into reserves which the minister said remains “healthy” at around £ 1.65bn.
Tynwald will be invited to support the movement at the next Tynwald session in June.