The Isle of Man is taking its biggest step backwards towards normalcy since the pandemic began next week.
The authorities are keeping their fingers crossed that the new border controls operate smoothly.
The first crossing to the island under the new rules will leave Heysham in the early hours of Monday morning, with passenger numbers expected to be more than three times the average for Monday’s crossings.
Similar increases in passenger numbers are expected at Ronaldsway Airport.
The main change is the establishment of a ‘2 + 2’ path to enter the island.
From Monday, people can enter the island without being tested or having to self-isolate if traveling from the Common Travel Zone (CTA) of the UK, Ireland or the Channel Islands, have not traveled outside this area in the 10 days prior to travel. in the Isle of Man, and are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
But travelers will need to have received the two doses of the coronavirus vaccine administered in the CTA two weeks before travel.
Children between the ages of five and 17 will still need to enter the island via the ‘test and release’ route, which will cost Â£ 30 per child.
Via the âtest and releaseâ route, residents, family, partners and owners can enter the island if they are only partially or not vaccinated, or have received both vaccines outside of the CTA.
This route costs Â£ 30 per person as they must undergo a Covid-19 PCR test within 48 hours of arrival and self-isolate until they test negative.
Another test on the sixth day should also be done.
If travelers do not wish to be tested, they must self-isolate for 21 days.
The final route to enter the island is a âseven dayâ route which applies to those who have traveled outside of CTA in the 10 days prior to their trip to the island (whether fully, partially or not vaccinated).
Those entering via this route must also undergo the Â£ 30 testing procedures, with a PCR test within 48 hours of arrival and one on the sixth day.
However, travelers arriving under these conditions must remain in isolation for seven days even if their first test comes back negative.
If their test on the sixth day is negative, then they can be released from isolation on the seventh day.
For those planning to visit the island, the application process has changed as well.
Before departing, travelers must complete a landing form within 48 hours of arrival – a process familiar to many who have made the trip in recent months.
Visitors traveling under the new 2 + 2 exemptions will now be required to upload proof that they are fully vaccinated (two weeks have passed since the second dose).
This could be a screenshot of their NHS app, a photo / scan of their vaccination record, or an eligible vaccination letter / certificate.
Once the government accepts this proof of vaccination, travelers will receive a confirmation email to show at the border upon arrival.
For those unable to complete their form prior to arrival, hard copies will be available at the airport and marine terminal upon arrival.
All visitors will also be required to present an ID upon arrival, regardless of their residential status or method of arrival.
This may include a passport, driver’s license, or official ID card.
Passengers are still required to wear face coverings on the boat, on planes and in terminals and at social distancing whenever possible.
For those arriving with their vehicles at the marine terminal, drivers will be asked to follow a new access route to the adjacent Parade Street parking lot, which has been reconfigured to a circular layout for ferry traffic to facilitate enforcement border and document checks.
It is also hoped that the new lanes will ensure that freight traffic is not adversely affected by potential delays.
Drivers will be directed to one of the many lanes once Cabinet Office teams establish the status of their landing documents – if they have not been able to complete all relevant paperwork before arriving in Douglas, they will be directed to a specific path to receive help.
More information on the new border rules and procedures can be found at visitisleofman.com and in this week’s Courier.