As of 6am this morning the Shelter in Place Order was officially lifted as Bermuda enters the first phase of reopening the island’s economy.
The question now is how long will it take to move from phase one to phase two.
According to Premier David Burt, that will be up to “each and every one of us adhering closely to the guidelines and keeping each other accountable”.
Speaking at the latest COVID0-19 briefing on Friday, he said the Physical Distancing and Closure Schedule and new regulations “which will govern this shelter in place period” will be tabled in the House of Assembly virtually next Friday.
“It is likely that we will also debate those matters that Friday, or possibly at the next sitting, but it is important that we maintain the level of parliamentary scrutiny.
“And we want to make sure that we can go through these things together,” said Mr Burt.
Visting another household other than your own will no longer be illegal during phase one, but “it is still strongly encouraged that persons do not visit other households”.
“Remember the more closely we adhere to the guidelines, the faster we can safely move to Phase 2,” said Premier Burt.
“A curfew will remain in place between the hours of 10pm and 6am.
“During that time, it is illegal for you to be in a home that is not yours,” he added.
“Gatherings will be limited to no more than 10 persons. This is outdoor gatherings and indoor gatherings, including private homes. It is not the time to host parties, as it is an offense to host a group or gathering of more than 10 persons.
“Permitted businesses will be able to remain open between the hours of 7am and 9pm.
“Permitted businesses are the only businesses that are allowed to have customers inside of their business, and those are: retail grocery stores; pharmacies; banks; gas stations; office of a registered health professional, clinic, hospital, or other health facility;a pet shop with the permission of the Minister of National Security; or laundromat with the permission of the Minister of National Security.
“Grocery stores, gas stations, and pet stores remain open under the current conditions of lettered days of shopping and those things will be continued to be prescribed with minor modifications to Sunday shopping.
“During phase one, bars and clubs; beauty salons, spas, barbers; cinemas, concert halls, theatres; gyms, sports clubs; restaurants for dine in; and swimming pools in hotels, guest houses, and other vacation rental properties will be closed.
“Retail businesses and restaurants will be permitted to open between the hours of 7am and 9pm with conditions.
“When it comes to retail stores, customers shall not be permitted to enter the premises.
“When it comes to restaurants, only one customer at a time shall be permitted to enter the premises in order to collect or pay for an order and dine-in services are prohibited.
“Retail stores and restaurants are permitted to make deliveries between the hours of 9 AM and 9 PM and deliveries can be performed by delivery vehicles from those companies, by taxis, and/or other public service vehicles.
“When it comes to fishermen and farmers, licensed fishermen may sell fresh local fish and registered commercial farmers may sell fresh local produce roadside on Monday to Saturday only, subject to the supervision and permission of the Minister of Home Affairs.
“These persons may also make deliveries to customers.
“Playgrounds and outdoor exercise equipment in public parks shall remain closed to the public. This is important as we do not have the cleaning regimes in place yet for those particular items and therefore, although it is very tempting to allow children to go to playgrounds, they are closed at this point in time.
“As is the outdoor exercise equipment in the public parks. However, they can run around in the public parks, they can go and
run around on the beach, as long as they are maintaining physical distancing.
“Regarding boating, boating activity is allowed. However, there are restrictions.
“Boats cannot have any more than 10 persons on them and boats cannot have persons who are from more than one household on a particular boat. That is specifically expressed inside of the regulations.
“Additionally, rafting up to other vessels for leisure is prohibited under the regulations as is prescribed. So this weekend is not the time, even though the weather is bad.
“This weekend, during the week, or next weekend is not the time to try to have that party on the water.”
But he said: “”We are not there yet.
“Construction, mechanical, landscaping services, and other trades can reopen with strict physical distancing. Guidance will be released which will require all employees and customers to wear masks. Any business or job site not adhering to that guidance will be closed.
“The Public Service will continue to work remotely, but limited public-facing services such as cashier counter services will reopen on Monday, May 4 for such areas such as TCD, the Office of the Tax Commissioner and the Cashiers on the ground floor of the
Government Administration Building, and the Dame Lois Browne Evans Building.
“The Head of the Public Service has advised that Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Departments have developed plans for the phased expansion of Government services commencing Monday, May 4.
“These plans will see Public Officers who are not able to work remotely returning to their workplaces under physical distancing guidelines.
“In some instances, this will require Public Officers to work in rotation. There will be limited public access.”
He also noted that Government’s union partners “have been engaged for their input, as well as to discuss any proposed plans”.
“Laundromats will continue to operate under the current restrictions, and they will be able to operate between the hours of 7am to 9pm.
“The new laws still requires employers to allow their employees to work from home if they are able to do so. Businesses that are requiring workers to come into the office when those workers aren’t able to work from home, outside of what is stated in law may
be reported to the police on 211, and are subject to penalties under the law,” he added.
“Parks, beaches, and the railway trails will reopen. Persons may use the outdoor facilities of a sports club, such as a golf course, tennis court, or a sporting field, provided that appropriate physical distancing is maintained at all times and any groups do not
exceed 10 persons.”
No contact sports that are allowed.
Meanwhile, limited public transportation is set to resume next week. The schedule will be announced in due course.
“Church buildings will remain closed for regular services. However, members of the clergy shall be permitted to enter a church or other religious establishment, providing that appropriate physical distancing is maintained for these two things: private prayer,
which is a maximum of five persons; and in order to broadcast a service via electronic means, which will include a maximum of 10 persons to conduct the service and to facilitate the broadcast.
“That second portion represents no change than what we’ve been under for the past four weeks,” said Mr Burt.
“We are planning to take a very slow and phased response to re-opening the island which will require constant monitoring of any particular increase of cases.
“If we see a significant increase in cases based on comparisons with our modelling or if we see that people and businesses are not complying with the conditions of Phase One, unfortunately more intense public health measures will have to be implemented.
“And I plead with all persons in Bermuda, do not force us to go in that direction.
“There are persons inside of our economy who are hurting, who want to get back to work,” he said.
“And it is collectively all of us working together, which will ensure that we can do that.
“We are in this together and for most of this journey, we have stayed together united in one purpose, united in one vision, and united in one objective.”
Overall, he said that he was “very proud of the work that each and every Bermudian has done in your way to get us to where we are, to the ending of shelter in place”.
“Together we came through shelter in place and together we can come through phase one, and beyond into a new normal: where we can return to work, children can return to school, and our lives can return to some semblance of normality.
“Please keep the family of those who have lost loved ones to this disease, and those that are battling with it as we speak in your prayers.”
While noting that “we have a lot of work to do” before this is all over, he said: “We will all have a time to collectively celebrate.