Today is so-called Covid 'Freedom Day' on the Isle of Wight.

Scroll down for information on NHS sites, travel operators, shops, libraries and more...

Following recent government announcements, most of England's legal restrictions, brought in to fight against Covid-19, are being lifted.

Services and organisations are starting to return to 'normal', just days before the start of the school summer holiday.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak are currently self-isolating because Health Secretary Sajid Javid has contracted coronavirus.

Isle of Wight County Press: Simon Bryant, Isle of Wight director of public health.Simon Bryant, Isle of Wight director of public health.

"The pandemic is not over."

Scientists are warning the country to be prepared for a surge in cases, which has led to some businesses and organisations approaching the changes with caution.

On the Isle of Wight, health leaders are urging us to act responsibly.

Simon Bryant, the council's director of public health, said: "The pandemic is not over and the disease carries risks for all of us, but particularly the most vulnerable members of our Island community.

"We know getting vaccinated helps protect ourselves and others. Reduced transmission of the virus minimises the development of new variants.

"My two key messages are please take a cautious approach and get vaccinated. Doing both of these will really help stop the spread and protect the NHS as cases rise and hospitalisations increase."

From today, restrictions on social distancing, group sizes, working from home, face covering, attending weddings, funerals and other life events will all be removed in England.

Despite that, we are being asked to meet outdoors where possible, keep windows open and limit close contact with people we do not live with.

Public transport operators are urging us to continue wearing masks.

We are also told we will need to self-isolate when required and are urged to take regular rapid response lateral flow tests.

Isle of Wight County Press: Cllr Karl Love, cabinet member for public health.Cllr Karl Love, cabinet member for public health.

"Keep testing using the free lateral flow kits."

Councillor Karl Love, cabinet lead for public health, urged Islanders to get vaccinated, to help protect the community.

He said: "It’s especially important that all our young people are now vaccinated to complete the loop and prevent further spread of the virus.

"As lockdown restrictions are lifted, it’s still wise to continue wearing your face covering. I also encourage those who travel backwards and forwards across the Solent to keep testing using the free lateral flow kits obtained at local pharmacies."

Scientists say that being vaccinated helps limit the impact of the disease, but those who have it can still transmit it to others.

Isle of Wight police are also urging caution. 

They tweeted: "Please bear in mind that despite the restrictions being lifted tomorrow some of our licensed premises will still keep some in place, such as table service, or restricted numbers at the bar.

"Ensure you know what is expected of you in each place."


Isle of Wight County Press:

Temporary bus stops in Newport town centre, which helped make space for social distancing, will be removed.

Stops for routes 5, 7, 12 and 38 have moved back into the bus station.

Meanwhile, operator Southern Vectis is removing seating restrictions from today but passengers are being asked to continue to wear masks.

Southern Vectis managing director, Andrew Wickham said: “With the one metre plus rule no longer in place, we have opened up all seats on our buses, except for those immediately behind the driver - so that we can operate at almost full capacity once more.

“The government has announced that wearing a face covering on public transport is no longer mandatory, and has given individuals the choice.

“We understand that this is a decision for each individual to make, but we urge our customers to consider others when travelling with us, and we strongly advise that they wear a face covering.

“One of the rare positive impacts of Covid is that it contributed to reduced congestion across the Isle of Wight - so it would be wonderful if we could all use this opportunity to leave cars at home and use sustainable transport instead.

“This could make a real impact in helping to improve the air quality here - whilst providing a boost for the local hospitality industry."


Isle of Wight County Press:

All the Isle of Wight's ferry operators have announced that masks will still be required on crossings to and from the Isle of Wight.

Wightlink has confirmed the measures will continue for anyone who is not exempt and social distancing will also continue.

It says hygiene will be maintained on its boats and on shore and onboard fogging machines will be used to clean large areas.

Hand sanitiser will also still be available.

Hovertravel passengers will still be required to wear masks and the operator has called it "an important step in safeguarding our passengers and our people."

Red Funnel, too, is asking passengers to wear a face covering on its ferries and in its terminals.

The only exception is if a passenger is exempt, under 11 years of age, on outside decks, or when eating/drinking.


Newport's South Street taxi rank will be reinstated.


The short-stay car park at Church Litten, adjacent to Newport bus station, will reopen.


Isle of Wight County Press:

Masks will be still be required, but opening hours are being extended and there are no limits on the number of people who can be inside.

At Lord Louis library, comfortable seating returns, study tables can be used and daily newspapers are available.

Computers can be used for free.

There are plans for library events and activities.

Councillor Jonathan Bacon, cabinet lead for libraries, said: "When you visit your local library, please follow a few sensible COVID-19 precautions to keep yourself and other customers safe.

"Sanitise your hands, either use the NHS Test and Trace app or fill in a small contact details form, and please continue to wear a face covering."

The Isle of Wight Council is reintroducing the 60p reservation charge on books, but is extending the fines amnesty until the autumn

West Wight Leisure Centre

Isle of Wight County Press:

The sports and leisure centre in Freshwater is urging Islanders to 'continue to be vigilant'.

Centre manager Clare Griffin said: "I am sure you will all continue to wear masks and maintain high standards to keep everyone safe and confident – thank you all for everything you’ve done so far.

"Let’s not take our guard down yet."

NHS - St Mary's Hospital and other healthcare locations

Isle of Wight County Press:

Although the number of new Covid-19 cases are rising, the rate of people going to hospital has not followed the same path.

The government says that is down to the success of the vaccine.

Despite this, strict safety measures will remain at St Mary's Hospital even after today.

Patients and visitors will still be required to wear face coverings and to socially distance.

Strict infection controls will be followed, to protect vulnerable people and staff.

Visiting restrictions remain and patients should attend appointments alone, where possible.