As we head into the two-week October half term break, the Isle of Wight remains at ‘medium’ risk, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to bite.

The Isle of Wight Council is urging us to have fun - but with a caveat: We must keep the Island safe.

This week, Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed other areas of England are due to climb the government’s three tier alert scale, from Saturday October 17.

However, as London and other areas brace for ‘high risk’, the Isle of Wight has retained its tier one restrictions.

What are the rules for the Isle of Wight?

  • No more than six people to meet indoors or outdoors
  • Pubs, bars and restaurants must close at 10pm
  • Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies must involve no more than 15 people; and gyms will remain open, with organised sports played outdoors.

With the imminent arrival of those in search of a last-minute pre-winter getaway, and the plans of families who are finally able to get and about after six weeks of school (also hugely restricted by Covid-19 rules), what can be done to protect the Isle of Wight?

Isle of Wight County Press:

Will Myles, from Visit Isle of Wight, Cllr Dave Stewart and Simon Bryant, Director of Public Health

For Will Myles, MD at Visit Isle of Wight, the Island is ready.

He told the County Press:  “I think we’re looking forward to a busy October half-term.

“Attractions are open and there are plenty of events and activities to enjoy.

“Visitors will understand that things are different at the moment, they will need to plan ahead, consider pre-booking and continue to keep to the ‘hands, face, space’ message – which the tourism industry and our thousands of visitors were so good at over the summer.”

We are also being reminded of the Visitors’ Charter, which combines some of that advice, along with a reminder to wear a face covering, respect the environment and bin your litter, and to isolate and get tested if you have Covid-19 symptoms.

Council leader, Councillor Dave Stewart, hopes the autumn break will provide a boost to hard-hit Island tourism and hospitality businesses.

"Our tremendous location for a local holiday break means we can expect a busy couple of weeks,” he said.

“Visitors are welcome, but everyone needs to appreciate why we have a relatively lower rate of infection here and help us to keep it that way.

“There is no room for complacency.”

Simon Bryant, the Isle of Wight Council's director of public health, said: “We want everyone to enjoy the half-term holiday, but we still need to remember to social distance, wash our hands frequently, wear a face covering where required and to keep in line with the Rule of Six guidance.”

For Visit Isle of Wight’s Will Myles, it’s about making sure we all do what we can to protect ourselves and those around us.

He said: “It’s a one Island approach and everyone working together, for the protection of the community and the benefit of the local economic environment.”