No firm decision has been made yet, but National Security Minister Wayne Caines has warned that spending time in bars and clubs could speed up the transmission of the deadly coronavirus.

He also warned that if people ignored advice it could be that “things will have to escalate” and there would “come a time to use the force of law”.

This after the latest meeting held by the Emergency Measures Organisation (EMO) this week.

At this point in time the Government has advised bars, social clubs, restaurants, gyms and other social venues “to significantly scale down their operations and enforce social-distancing”.

Speaking at a news conference the Minister said he was “concerned” that people continued to go about their business as usual.

He also urged residents to stay indoors and stay off the streets to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Bermuda.

“There is an opportunity for us to realise that, if you do not need to be on the road, if you are not a part of the essential services, if you are not helping out with any Covid-19-related activities, you need to be at home and inside your premises,” he said.

“The people of Bermuda” needed to know that they had to be “off the road and … indoors” to prevent the spread of the virus.

“There will be some people in the emergency services and the essential services that will have to go to work.

“We know that people have family members, people have loved ones, people have a community of support and we have to call on the good grace of those in our community to help out at this specific time.

“As the Minister of National Security, I have to say again, we have to reduce our want and our desire to socialise openly.

“That means drinking in bars, socialising in restaurants, being at specific clubs; that must stop with immediate effect.

“We believe that those activities at this point will accelerate community transmission.”

“We need to make sure that people are out of harm’s way and that they are off the streets and that they are home,” he said.

“We cannot specifically tell you what that looks like for your family, specifically. We can tell you that this is an opportunity to show the best of who we are and we must help and look out for each other.”

The Minister also noted that arrangements have been made for local hotels to offer accommodation for mandatory 14-quarantines for returning residents.

“Essential retail outlets will continue to operate, such as food and medicines,” he added.

“We are not forcing anyone into quarantine. Many returning students have said they might not have a facility in the home for self-quarantine.

“This is not mandatory; people will not be herded off a plane and forced into a facility. It is 100 percent voluntary.”

But he said, there are still some Bermudians who were travelling on cruise ships, who were still trying to return home.

“We are working with Government House to get them home. Once we are successful bringing them back, they too will have to go into 14-day self-quarantine,” said Mr Caines.

The docks will also operate as normal, although cruises and pleasure crafts would not be allowed into port.

Grocery stores and pharmacies will remain open with limits on the number of customers allowed inside at supermarkets.

At this stage they remain on a “yellow light, do with caution list”.

The “green light safe to do” list includes cooking meals at home and playing in a home garden.

To date, there are two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Bermuda, with 15 test results still pending.

One arrived on the island on March 4 on American Airlines flight 308 from Miami and the other arrived on the British Airways flight on March 6.

The two cases were not connected and neither resident required hospitalisation, but they are currently in isolation.