Top Feature Photos Courtesy of TNN

Royal Bermuda Regiment (RBR) soldiers embodied conducted 3,998 vehicle stops at 25 islandwide checkpoints in one day alone this week.

In the latest update on the impact of COVID-19 in Bermuda, National Security Minister Wayne Caines said: “We currently have 200 RBR soldiers embodied working in a variety of capacities, including assisting in clearing the backlog of Shelter in Place exemption requests that have been received.”

As of April 8, he said all requests for exemption that were submitted before midday “have been processed”.

“Over the past 24-hours the RBR conducted 3,998 vehicle stops at 25 Community Advisory Points,” he said.

“We have increased the locations and visibility of the community advisory points, which have expanded island-wide.

“We will also have BPS Officers patrolling the railway trails to ensure that these areas are kept clear in accordance with the Shelter in Place guidelines.

“Again, anyone who does not have a valid reason for being on our roads during the Shelter in Place will either be turned back, detained, or even in some cases as we have seen arrested and brought before the courts,” he added.

Topics discussed at the latest briefing included “matters to do with the Joint Community Advisory Check Points, operations at the Department of Correction facilities, the Government shelter, the Government Quarantine locations and restricted guidelines regarding kite flying on Good Friday”.

Minister Caines advised the public that “the joint operation of Officers from the Bermuda Police Service (BPS) and the Royal Bermuda Regiment (RBR) continue to ensure the public’s compliance”.

“Increased measures have been put in place – including the pre-screening of staff prior to being allowed into our correction facilities,” he said.

“In keeping with the legislative guidelines, visits at the correctional facilities remain suspended. Some of the inmate classes and progammes are also suspended. And our Corrections civilian staff are working remotely.

“We appreciate that these are testing times, but the reality is that these are unprecedented times and there are some difficult sacrifices which must be made.

“However we also appreciate that there are those in these facilities who need specialised items. And we have heard the feedback.”

For persons with family or friends currently in a government managed quarantine facility, he said, they “will be allowed to drop an essential care package at the specific location” today April 9 and Friday, April 10″.

“Next week the essential care package drop off schedule will be Tuesday April 14 and Friday April 17. The drop off time is from 1pm – 5pm.  No exceptions.

“The essential care package should have the room number visible and the recommended items should include key necessities such as toiletries, medication and essential foods, inclusive of any special dietary items. We ask that if at all possible, in keeping with the guidelines that one person makes this essential delivery.”

On the Government run shelter, Minister Caines said the temporary shelter set up at The Berkeley Institute will be moved to CedarBridge Academy within the next 48 hours.

Wayne Caines, Minister of National Security

“In consideration of social distancing requirements, the facilities at CedarBridge Academy are more suited for a shelter during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The temporary Shelter in Place accommodation for our vulnerable persons continues to operate at Berkeley in accordance with guidance provided by the Ministry of Health,” he said.

In the interim, he said the shelter at Berkeley is open from 6:30pm to 7:30am allow “time for the facility to be cleaned”.

“Shelter residents are permitted to stay on the Berkeley property, on the field and covered lower level porch area, while the shelter is closed to residents.

“Residents are provided with dinner, an evening snack and breakfast. They are also provided a snack and water to carry out with them in the morning.

“To ensure that the critical needs of the shelter residents are met as well as all operational, facility, and staffing, there is medical, security, maintenance, administration, and general volunteer support at the shelter,” he added.

“Lastly we know the cultural significance of the upcoming Good Friday holiday.

“Kite flying is considered one of the cornerstones of our heritage.

“But while the breeze may be perfect for pitching kites and seeing colourful hummers on full display in our skies is a heartening sight, even this tradition must be tempered by the reality of our current global situation.

“We simply cannot do what we instinctively want to do at this time of year. Fly your kite in your own yard and enjoy the day at home in keeping with the Regulations that govern our shelter in place at this time. Any kite that gets lost or goes down, must be abandoned. This is not optional.

The Minister also reminded residents that “churches will still be closed” on Easter Sunday.

“However we expect and encourage our religious and faith based entities to continue to provide their Sabbath and Sunday services and observations via online and broadcast mediums,” he said.

“Finally, I will end with a familiar but necessary refrain.

“Again, I am urging members of the community to please adhere to the guidelines as set out in the Emergency Powers Act 2020.

“For the avoidance of doubt our objective is to limit the movement of the general public to prevent the transmission of the COVID-19 virus in Bermuda.

“If you don’t need to be on the roads stay home. Stay inside. Shelter in Place is being done to save lives.”