Now that the strict ‘Stay at Home’ period has ended, Premier David Burt says: “This short and sharp stop to activities has allowed our essential services such as contact tracing to catch up on the high volume of work they were faced with and allowed us to meet the objective of increasing our pace of vaccinations while expanding testing.
“As we come out of the Seven (7) Day Stay at Home Order and into the next phase of regulations to allow for some safe economic activity,” he said: “Each of us plays a significant role in our country’s success against the coronavirus.
“Our progress is reliant on all individuals making responsible decisions in the interest of the collective safety of their family and the Bermuda community.”
The Premier opened the latest COVID briefing last night, by extending condolences “to the families of the three people we lost over the past few days”.
“We are again reminded of the human cost that this virus has imposed on families within our community,” said Mr Burt.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of those lost over the weekend and yesterday, as well as with all families who have been impacted by loss during this pandemic.
“As we enter the next phase of regulations I ask that each person watching and listening remembers that the ultimate purpose of such measures is to protect you, to protect your loved ones, and to protect Bermuda,” said Mr Burt.
“We recognise that even with the best of intentions, to live under restrictions is frustrating and tiring for many but I encourage everyone to keep the end in view.”
On that note, he said the vaccination programme has accelerated.
“We are making consistent advances towards our goal of community immunity,” said Premier Burt.
“Community immunity, combined with increased vigilance at our border will allow many of our restrictions to be but a mere memory. We can only get there if we remain united and not think about just ourselves, but the community.
“The Government is being led by the data as we decide what each phase on our road to reopening will entail.”
With this data in mind, and with consideration for our healthcare system and our economy, he said the following changes took effect this morning:
· Curfew will be in place from 8pm – 6am every day.
· Household mixing is not permitted.
· Permitted businesses including grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, gas stations & registered health professional offices and facilities can continue to operate between 7am-7pm.
· Grocery stores will continue to operate on the alphabetical system.
· Retail stores, including pet stores, will be permitted to open for curbside and delivery service from 7am-7pm.
· Restaurants can open from 7am-7pm for take-out and delivery services only.
· Laundromats will be permitted to open from 7am-7pm. They will be open by appointment for one household at a time to reduce mixing. A wash & fold service may be provided as long as customers are not permitted to enter premises during drop off or collection of their laundry.
· Licensed fishermen and registered commercial farmers are permitted to sell local fish & local produce respectively on the roadside and may also engage in delivery.
· Construction, maintenance and landscaping services are permitted to resume on outdoor sites and for indoor sites that are vacant or uninhabited.
· Courier, delivery and trucking services are permitted to operate. Speak to the courier service about delivery and curbside pick-up of your package if needed, as you are not permitted to enter their premises.
· Parks, beaches, playgrounds and railway trails are open but you may only visit with members of your own household. Golf courses are open for use by a person and members of the same household, but the clubhouse and other facilities must remain closed.
· Recreational boating will be permitted for members of the same household only. Tying to other boats or rafting-up is not permitted and this will be strictly enforced.
· Schools remain closed. Nurseries are also to remain closed except for those approved by the Ministry of Health to care for children of essential workers.
· Remote working remains mandatory, subject to the exceptions in the Regulations. Employers should not force employees to come into work if they are able to perform their duties from home. If you feel that you are being asked to come in against law please report it on the Employment Violations Tipline: bermudajobboard.bm/evtl
To answer some previous questions the Government has received in regards to the latest regulations:
· There is now no restriction on the amount of time a person can exercise outdoors. You do not have to stay within 1km of your home – however there is one restriction – no mixing of households.
· Minor children of parents who do not live together may spend nights at the home of either parent to give effect to an agreement between the parents.
“There is still community transmission of the coronavirus in Bermuda, and we must continue to be vigilant as we go about our daily lives,” said Premier Burt.
“Please continue to wear your masks, practice social distancing and sanitize. These regulations will remain in place for at least two to three weeks, at which point the Ministry of Health will review the data and make recommendations to the Cabinet.
“For those who are now returning to work in retail, restaurants and other businesses allowed to operate as outlined in the latest regulations, the Government encourages you to take advantage of free testing and know your coronavirus status. Employers, ensure that your workplaces are safe. We have allowed some economic activity to return, but it is vital that you ask your employees to be tested to ensure that you do not subject your business to a 14 day shutdown due to quarantine.
“For those persons who are still unable to work due to business closures and are in need of support please go to uba.gov.bm to apply for the Unemployment Benefit administered by the Ministry of Finance.
“Support also remains in place for affected businesses through the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation. They can go to go online to bedc.bm 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.
“While contact between persons must remain to a minimum, and with the difficulties this pandemic has brought, we know that there are persons going through a difficult time emotionally.
“The Emotional Wellbeing Hotline is now open Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 5pm to 9pm and they are here to help you. If you or anyone you know requires extra emotional support, please call 543-1111.
Do not keep the challenges you are facing or your emotions to yourself, if you need help please reach out.
“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 permission to leave your home in an emergency even while the curfew is in place from 8pm-6am.”
The next briefing will be held on Sunday evening, to provide an outline of “where we have been, where we are now, and what the future will look like for Bermuda”.
“The goal of the national address will be to share with the country what we have learned throughout our battle with coronavirus, how we have adjusted our response and our roadmap for the return of a sense of normality for our beloved island. Further details will be released in the coming days, and I encourage all to tune in.”
He also noted that “taking the vaccine is a personal choice”.
“In closing, I ask that we continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in St Vincent and the Grenadines as they contend with the impact of a devastating volcanic eruption in their country.
“I again thank the Minister of Health and her team at the Ministry, my Cabinet colleagues, my parliamentary colleagues and all public, healthcare and essential workers for all that they do.
“And I thank the people of Bermuda for your patience, cooperation, and understanding of the necessary but difficult decisions we must make as the Government. There is hope for a post pandemic future. Please stay safe and let’s keep moving forward together.”