More definitive guidelines and full changes will “be put in place for next week’s Shelter in Place period”, which starts on Saturday.
Those changes will hopefully include some form of clarity with regards to Bermuda’s taxi service.
Residents without transportation of their own would know that some taxi drivers are working, while others are not.
And without public transportation in service, finding transportation could be a daunting task.
Speaking at the Government’s latest briefing on COVID-19 in Bermuda on Thursday, Premier David Burt said: “These changes have not yet been completed legislatively, and we do not want there to be any confusion between what is said here, and what is reflected fully in the law.
“So we’re going to wait to make sure that we can read from the newly updated law so that everyone will have a full and complete update.”
He also stated: “Many of our taxi drivers have subscribed to the unemployment benefit, as clearly there is a minimal amount of movement that’s allowed by taxi drivers, and this is a move to allow some economic activity for those taxi drivers, while making sure that we continue to maintain our social distancing.”
That update will be delivered later today at the next news briefing this evening at 5:30pm.
“But, as I have indicated over the last few days, there will be some changes,” said Mr Burt.
“All the changes that are being made, are in line with social distancing.
“The purpose of the Shelter in Place Order is to minimise the interactions between persons in different households to minimize transmission that could spread this outbreak further than what it is spread already.
“However, recognizing that it has been extended for two weeks, and certain persons may not have been ready to be sheltered in place for a full four weeks, there are going to be some additional businesses that will be allowed to be open,” he said.
“There will be limited allowances for hardware stores, as we want persons who are at home, and want to make sure they can have the opportunity to make any upgrades to their house and make use the time.
“Plant nurseries, in case you want to plant some items in your garden or start to help us to better enhance our food security in Bermuda.
There will be limited allowances for pet stores as well, as we recognize certain persons may have only had allowances for two weeks of pet food, and we want to make sure that our pets are taken care of.
“And certainly, as I’ve mentioned before laundromats, as it is important, and recognizing that not all persons in Bermuda aur privileged to have a washer and dryer in their house, and we’re going to make sure that we can find a way that minimizes the risk but allows persons to have access to those particular services,” said Mr Burt.
“Additionally, as we’re looking to promote delivery services on island, the Minister of National Security is also drafting up guidelines to enhance the use or expand the use of Bermuda’s taxis, to help enhance delivery services which are taking place on island right now.
The Premier also noted “further reports of panic buying, especially in the areas of tobacco and alcohol, due to some
headlines in local media – namely the daily newspaper.
The Government is not banning alcohol and tobacco sales as some persons have reported, so there is no need to rush to the store.
“I cannot emphasize enough that there is no need to panic buy any items as we’re going to ensure that supply happens.”
As stated on Wednesday, he added: “I indicated that we will allow the limited restocking of these particular items in our
stores and the Minister of National Security and the amendments that are being made to Emergency Powers Regulations will allow for that to happen.
“As this Government sees these that must be addressed, we will always look at issues carefully, and if we need to make a different decision, while maintaining the health and wellbeing of Bermudians, we will.
“I cannot stress that an overwhelming majority of our people are putting Bermuda first by following the rules, sheltering in place, and maintaining social distance.
“Yet, there are those who continue to act in undisciplined, reckless and thoughtless manner.
“For them, the only solution will be facing the consequences before the courts of Bermuda, and that is not something, of which we want to do.
“So if you do not care about anyone else, I hope that you at least pause, as a thought of paying thousands of dollars in fines or potentially finding yourself behind bars,” said Premier Burt.
“Given that we are dealing with people’s lives, the Government is not playing in this particular situation, and we are urging the Bermuda Police Service to continue to enforce the law as it is written.”
The Premier also thanked the National Security Ministry’s team, the Department, Bermuda’s principals, educators, and paraprofessionals, not just as the Premier but also as a father,” he said.
“My daughter is enjoying her experience learning online and I’m grateful that in spite of this pandemic she, like so many of our children across the island, has the opportunity to engage in learning.”