As anticipated, Premier David Burt announced the shelter in place regulations initially put into effect until this coming Saturday, will be extended to May 2.
Speaking at the Government’s latest news conference on Tuesday, he said he was “keenly aware” of the impact this two-week extension would have on the residents of Bermuda.
“As a people, we must make this sacrifice, a sacrifice which is based on compassion for those of us who will die if they contract COVID-19,” said Mr Burt.
He also extended compassion to the island’s healthcare workers, who put their lives on the line dealing with this deadly virus.
Health Minister Kim Wilson stated that there had been no more hospital admissions or deaths reported but as of 6pm, 38 test results received on Tuesday evening were still being processed.
Ms Wilson appealed to the public to help free beds at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital to facilitate preparations for an increase in patients hit by COVID-19.
“Everything we are doing in this community is to prevent this by reducing the spread of the infection but the facts are, right now, we don’t know how high the numbers are going to go.
“This means you must do your part and be part of the solution by taking your loved ones home when they’re medically fit to leave hospital,” she said.
More on that story with comments by Chief Medical Officer, Dr Cheryl Peek-Ball and Michael Richmond, the Bermuda Hospitals Board Chief of Staff, in subsequent reports.
Meanwhile, Premier Burt noted: “This coming Saturday will mark the 14 days of Shelter in Place for Bermuda.
“We have been guided by lessons that have been learned in other countries, and also the advice of our own public health experts.
“The imposition of the restrictions has been targeted, aimed at reducing the risk of community spread of the virus, and most of all, making sure that we save lives,” he said.
“It is regrettable that the nature of this disease is such that it can end in the death of those of our most vulnerable demographics.
“Our mission therefore must be unchanged. We must protect all of our residents, especially our most vulnerable.
“Therefore, following the unanimous recommendation of the Public Health Emergency Response Team, the Cabinet today (Tuesday) determined that the current shelter in place regulations should be extended for an additional two weeks, through to May 2.
“I’m keenly aware of the impact that this extension will have on how we work, and live, and play,” said Mr Burt.
“There is an emotional and psychological effect on all of us as we seek to manage our response to this global pandemic.
“But, guided by the needs to save lives, we must continue the adjustment to our routines, and encourage our families and friends to comply with the new normal of social distancing and heightened personal hygiene.
“The decision to extend this Shelter in Place was not taken lightly. But recognizing the financial hardship that it is imposing on many families and businesses, we understand the extreme stress, and I empathize with the extreme stress that many Bermudians are facing with the uncertainty that this is impacting us, and also the uncertainty, with the world.
“We all long for and want for our lives to go back to the way they were before, but it is for the preservation of lives, the protection for health and safety our community that the Cabinet, upon the advice of our public health experts has made this decision.”
The Premier also noted that he has “spoken with the Leader of the Opposition to inform him of the decision of the Cabinet”.
“The Leader of the Opposition and I are trying to keep in close contact, as it is very important that these particular matters are handled in a bipartisan basis.
“I’ve also informed his Excellency the Governor, and I will have my regular meeting with the Governor tomorrow (Weds) morning at 9am to discuss this and I’ll be able to give some further details about what may change over the next two weeks.”
Moving forward, he said: “The extension of the Shelter in Place will not be easy for many of us.
“I know that this is without question a challenge, and all of us want to get back to our regular lives and routines.
“Yet, as a people we must make this sacrifice, a sacrifice which is based on compassion for those of us who will die if they contract COVID-19.
“However, while we sacrifice, we cannot let the economic effects of this pandemic be worse than the health effects of this pandemic,” said Mr Burt.
“As an entrepreneur, I understand the incredible strain that this closure has caused many small and medium sized businesses.
“While we have announced relief for employees, many businesses also require said relief.”
Details on that relief package for “our small and medium sized business relief package with the Bermuda Economic Devolopment Corporation” will be announced later today.
The Minister of Finance will also “go over general matters to the economy and work which we’re doing to ensure that our economic recovery can happen once we come out of this period of challenge”, he added.
In closing the Premier reiterated the fact that” the Shelter in Place order will be extended to May 2″.
The measures in place “will largely remain”, but he said: “There will be some modifications as I can recognize the pain and challenge that this may cause people who do not have laundry facilities at home, or who need access to certain items which are not there.
“However, we are going to make sure that we maintain that families should not intermingle to make sure they reduce any
possible transmission of this virus.
“I also have to remind everyone, if you are leaving home, please wear a mask or a homemade face cover.
“During this time, my Cabinet colleagues and I have been encouraged by the warm emails, phone calls and messages of support,” he added.
“I’m also encouraged by those persons who contact me to say, and make recommendations and suggestions on things we might want to consider doing differently.
“The job of the Government is to represent all people, and certainly in this particular case and instance, we are all in this
“We thank you and we are humbled to represent you at this critical time in our island’s history.
“Our island and its people remain at the center of our thoughts, our decisions, and our actions.
“Thank you for what has been an extraordinary long press conference, but I also will now welcome any questions that you