As of today forms will be available online “for those who cannot work due to mandatory closures or they are in quarantine”.
Speaking at the latest COVID briefing last night, Premier David Burt said the uba.gov.bm website was updated this week “to reflect the latest changes to the regulations and to ensure there were not erroneous submissions of information”.
“Businesses can go online to bedc.bm, the website of the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation, to apply for the updated and expanded COVID-19 Emergency Grants as well as updated and expanded COVID-19 Combined Loans/Grants under the Business Continuity & Sustainability Funding Programme,” said Mr Burt.
“The Emergency Grants will be used to cover immediate costs associated with recurring expenses including rent, utilities, social insurance, and health insurance premiums for employees.
“Emergency Grant funding will be available in maximum amounts ranging from $5,000 to $7,000 per business. Businesses impacted by Public Health notice closures and restrictions back in December 2020 and January 2021, who received an Emergency Grant already, can re-apply for another Emergency Grant, however the maximum amounts available to these businesses will be 80 percent of the first maximum grant amount.
“As we end the first day of our 7 Day Stay at Home Order, I would like to remind the country why we have taken this step,” he said.
“Due to the swift increase in cases over the last few weeks our healthcare workers have seen a significant increase in workload and are struggling to keep up. If we did not act this workload would only continue to increase, and our entire healthcare system would be under immense strain.”
He also noted that the “healthcare system not only includes the hospital, but also includes our vaccination programme and workers, testing centres and labs, and all other workers such as our contact tracers, and frontline teams working tirelessly for the people of Bermuda”.
The next seven days, he said, will allow the following crucial steps to take place:
· Firstly, stopping the major causes of spread in the community. Mixing of households and persons mixing in the work environment while not following the precautions which have been set out.
· Contact Tracers will be able to catch-up on their current caseloads.
· We will be able to ramp up our testing regime which will include enhanced community testing with additional modes of testing as the Minister of Health has outlined.
· We will be able to expand our vaccination programme which will include new sites and increased doses administered each week as the Minister announced earlier.
“By increasing the amount of vaccine doses administered each week, we will take significant strides toward herd immunity with our ultimate goal being to have the majority of the country vaccinated by the end of May. This strategy calls for continued support and cooperation from all Bermudians so that we can ensure we reach this goal,” said Mr Burt.
“During the 7 day Stay at Home Order only permitted businesses are allowed to operate between the hours of 7am-7pm.”
Those permitted businesses are:
- Grocery stores
- Banks (limited services)
- Gas stations
- Offices of registered health professionals, clinics, hospital or other health facilities (including veterinary surgeries).
“All other businesses must remain closed. We are aware that there were businesses that opened this morning that are not on this list and have since been closed. If you are not one of the permitted businesses listed in the regulations, you must remain closed while this Stay at Home Order is in effect.
“Travelling to and from a permitted business is allowed, including travel to the grocery store on your designated shopping day, the airport and/or testing or vaccination centres.
“For those who need to apply for Stay at Home Movement exemption please go to: forms.gov.bm – This website also lists the exemptions that are already set out in law, and you do not need to fill out an exemption form if your movement falls inside those categories, so it is a good resource if you want to understand what is and is not allowed.”
Another news conference will be held later this week “to outline the next steps in terms of regulations”.
“When making these decisions the Government will continue to be led by the data,” said Mr Burt.
“While the Stay at Home Order is expected to end after 7 days, there will still be strict regulations in place to help us to stop the spread of this virus, enable us to open businesses safely and to allow our vaccination programme to increase its pace over the coming weeks with the goal to reach herd Immunity by the end of May,” he added.
The Premier also thanked “all persons in Bermuda who are doing their part including those who have called 211 to report regulation breaches to the Bermuda Police Service”.
“I encourage all persons to continue to call and inform the police if you are aware of any breaches of the regulations,” he said.
“Though I sincerely hope that as a country we will all come together, follow all regulations and do what is necessary to end this outbreak.
“In closing, we recognise that there are many who are struggling emotionally and require additional support. For those persons, the Emotional Wellbeing Hotline is now open Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 5pm to 9pm.
“If you or anyone you know requires extra emotional support, please call 543-1111. Please do not suffer in silence, call the hotline and get the support you need.
“Useful information on how to cope with stress, as well as a list of psychologists you can book a private appointment with can also be found on the Bermuda Psychology Association’s website: Bermudapsychology.com.
“I recognize staying at home does cause challenges for some who may not be in a stable position at their home,” he said.
“If you are in an abusive situation and need help the Centre Against Abuse offers a 24 hour helpline 297-8278 where their counsellors conduct sessions over the phone. If you have an emergency, dial 911. You do not need to go online to apply for permission to leave your home if you are suffering from abuse, it is an emergency. There are services available to support you if you are in that situation.
“As I indicated there will be another press conference later this week where we will lay out further details about what the next steps will be after we continue to analyse the data, and make sure that we are able continue this process safely while reducing the stress on our healthcare system.”