Four days into the Shelter in Place order started at 6am on Saturday, Premier David Burt appealed to the island’s residents to get serious about the very real threat of community spread of the deadly coronavirus.
Speaking at the news conference held on Monday to announce the first two deaths caused by COVID-19, he said: “A minority of the people in the country chose to ignore the rules that were put in place for everyone’s safety, jeopardizing their health and the health of others.
“To those people I say, stop.
“If you don’t care about yourself, think about your fellow Bermudians who are already hospitalized with this disease.
“Think about the countries that have seen their health systems overwhelmed from those suffering with the virus. Think about the Bermudian families who have lost loved ones and are grieving tonight.
“Shelter in Place is a sacrifice. A sacrifice that, in the long run, will benefit our country and will save lives.”
After two men were formally charged in Magistrates’ Court for breaching the order, he added: “The simple message here, for those who choose to ignore the Shelter in Place order, we will prosecute.
“Over the weekend there were questions asked about who can go out and when.
“To be crystal clear, if you are not going to the grocery store, pharmacy, gas station, work for a critical service, or attending for medical treatment, you should be at home and not be on the streets.”
For fitness enthusiasts, he said: “You can exercise on foot within a one kilometer, of your home for one hour.
“I’ve seen the app created by one of the local IT companies, where you put you address in and it shows you the areas in which you can exercise. Otherwise, you must be on your property.”
Recapping The Guidelines Again, Premier Burt Added: “Essential visits to the grocery store and gas station should be made on specific days of the week according to your last name.
If your last name begins A through L – you should shop on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
“If your last name begins M through Z – you should shop on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
“Where practical, only one member of your household should travel for groceries. This must NOT be a person who is subject to quarantine or required to be in isolation.
“Single parents of young children may take their children with them. Other than this scenario, I strongly discourage children from attending the grocery stores.
“Everyone must have valid ID. All forms of ID must have your name so it can be checked and verified. If you do not have an ID, a utility bill can also be presented.
“Regarding Sunday, we are looking to reserve for senior citizens overthe age of 65 and those persons who are physically challenged. They can make those visits on Sundays.
“Seniors and the physically challenged can also go on any day that corresponds with their last name, but we are trying to set Sunday set aside for them.
“These measures aren’t for some and not others to disobey. These guidelines apply to everyone.
“The only way we can be safe and stop the community spread of this virus is to stay at home, except to make trips for essential items, as I outlined.
“It is not okay to go outside into a park, which are all closed, to play a sporting activity.
“You cannot visit family or friends at a different residence. This is the time for us all to be at home.
“If you have received an exemption from the Ministry of National Security, it is up to you to show your valid ID, together with the necessary documentation.”
The Government also “recommended the use of homemade masks when going out in public”, over the weekend.
“It is important to remember that masks by themselves, will not protect you from contracting the coronavirus,” said Premier Burt.
“What a mask will do is it will prevent you from spreading the virus to others if are an asymptomatic spreader of the virus. As that advice was given, and there is going to be additional advice that is going to come from the Ministry of Health.
“If you are going out, I encourage you to wear a homemade face-covering. Instructions for that can be found on the
“When you wear a mask you must continue to practice social distancing. You must continue to wash your hands. You should maintain six feet distance between yourself and others.”
In the lead up to Good Friday and Easter Sunday, he said: “Our current national state means that we cannot enjoy some of the
community traditions we enjoy that now accompany this public holiday.
“Additionally, Good Friday is one of those days when shops, by law, are closed.
“With the restrictive guidelines already in place around grocery shopping, I am reluctant to remove a day from the limited times when people can get their supplies.
“As a result, I have asked the Minister of Finance to exercise his authority under the Public Holidays Act 1947, to allow those permitted businesses operating under the Shelter in Place regulations to remain open on Friday, April 10, if they wish.
“It is completely voluntary and up to the stores themselves. Subject to the public health advice at the time, my hope is that we can partake in the community traditions that are the hallmark of this time of year later this month,” said Mr Burt.
“I want to end by again, giving my condolences on behalf of the government and the people of Bermuda to the families tonight who are mourning their loss.
“I sincerely hope that all of Bermuda will pray for their families and recognize that if we do not follow our instructions, if we do not observe the guidelines that have been laid out, there will be more persons who sadly will succumb to this illness.
“It is important for us to do our part so we keep that number as low as possible.”