Dale McLaughlan had come up with something special. The 28-year-old from North Ayrshire, on the Scottish coast west of Glasgow, wanted to finally see his girlfriend again on the Isle of Man after many weeks.
Since his entry permit was denied due to the pandemic, the Scot bought a jet ski without further ado and whizzed around 40 kilometers across the Irish Sea. The trip for the jet ski novice lasted four and a half hours.
But McLaughlan had made the calculation without the strict Covid rules on the island. The independent island is subject to the British Crown, but is not part of the United Kingdom.
And it has only allowed visitors in since March for a handful of reasons. For months, the region has had a handful of infections a week at most. The penalties for violations are correspondingly strict: McLaughlan now has to go to prison for four weeks.
Island states drive a particularly tough course
Completely different catalogs of fines and penalties for violations have developed around the world since the outbreak of the pandemic, and these are continuously adjusted. Island states often have strict rules because, thanks to their geography, it is relatively easy for them to control entry and thus keep the virus under control.
Prison sentences are not only imposed on the Isle of Man for a long time. Skylar Mack is even sitting in jail for four months in the Cayman Islands for failing to adhere to the island nation’s quarantine rules.
After just two days, the 18-year-old student from the US state of Georgia had left her accommodation instead of waiting the required two weeks.
She had previously removed a device that was supposed to track her movements from her wrist. Mack also suffered from jet skis. She ignored the rules to watch a race of her partner, a professional jet ski driver.
Taiwan is also particularly rigorous when it comes to violating Covid rules. A worker from the Philippines, who was in hotel quarantine for 14 days as required, was undone by wanting to bring something to a friend in the next room.
The few seconds in the hotel corridor, recorded by surveillance cameras, were punished with the equivalent of 2900 euros.
While many may hope that their transgressions go undetected, others are not aware that they are making a mistake. This is what happened to Noel Atkinson in Melbourne, Australia in July.
Rules are getting tougher in many places
The worker had such an appetite for butter chicken curry, a dish from his mother’s Indian homeland, that he drove 30 kilometers to his favorite restaurant to buy a portion to take away – without worrying about his allowed range of motion to leave. A fine of 1000 euros was due when he was caught before he reached the Indian restaurant.
In the course of the pandemic, the penalties have steadily increased. In the UK, for example, behavioral recommendations were primarily given initially.
Over time, more and more of them became regulations, from wearing mouth-and-nose protection in local public transport and shops to the prohibition in the most strictly regulated regions of meeting more than one person outside of one’s own household.
Repeat offenders face increasingly severe penalties. For example, if you don’t wear a mask in closed rooms, the first violation costs £ 200 (110 euros). The penalty doubles for each rep, up to a maximum of 6400 pounds.
On the other hand, £ 10,000 is due directly for those who organize a party and bring together a group of more than 30 people. Since the country has been divided into regions with differently strict regulations depending on the infection situation, excursions are only possible within these so-called tiers.
So even a beer in the neighboring town, where the pubs are still open, can be quite expensive due to a criminal offense.
The Belgian prince broke the rules too
Exceptions to penalties are rarely made. For good reason: In the UK, the affair surrounding the then Johnson advisor Dominic Cummings in the spring made it much more difficult to convey compliance with the rules to the population.
Not only had Cummings driven halfway across the country, although he and his wife were sick – the official declaration was to ensure that their young son was cared for by the family – he had also made a long trip to a picturesque town nearby.
For this he stated that he wanted to test his eyesight before the long journey back to London. The party leadership had rigorously defended him.
Prince Joachim of Belgium had fewer advocates. During a trip to Spain in the spring, he not only broke the quarantine regulations, but also flew on from Madrid to Córdoba with his girlfriend to attend an illegal party there. The fun cost him 10,400 euros fine.
In Great Britain, three journalists from the Sky channel have just seen that there may be further fines in addition to the fines.
When Kay Burley celebrated her 60th birthday in London in early December, she not only met with just under a dozen people, including two colleagues, but also invited some of them home and broke the curfew at 11 p.m.
All three journalists were then suspended from the station for a few months, Burley even until mid-2021.
For McLaughlan, on the other hand, there are signs of a better end to his corona violation. His girlfriend has already revealed that she would marry him if he asked for her hand.