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Police close two bars for breaching Covid rules

Assistant Commissioner of Police Martin Weekes (Photograph supplied)

Police have closed two bars found to be breaching Covid-19 regulations just days after restrictions were relaxed.

Licensed premises had their opening hours extended to midnight from last Thursday, while a curfew was also withdrawn.

But two bars have since been given 24-hour closure orders for breaking the regulations.

And police insist that while they do not want to shut down businesses they must enforce the law.

Martin Weekes the Assistant Commissioner of Police, said: “It is not our intention nor our desire to be closing businesses during these already difficult times.

“However, the government has issued regulations that must be adhered to in order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, Covid-19.

“The BPS will continue to work with the owners and operators of bars, nightclubs and restaurants to gain compliance with the stated guidelines.

“As a reminder, Indoor and outdoor bars and nightclubs can remain open until midnight, providing table service only, with a maximum of ten people at a table.

“Bar service is not currently permitted. Masks must be worn when moving around in licensed premises and physical distancing must be maintained.

“Please remember our Covid compliance team officers as well as patrol officers will be visiting bars, nightclubs and restaurants as part of efforts to ensure compliance with the Covid-19 guidelines.

“Again, it is neither our intention nor desire to stop you from operating your business, but understand that we have a responsibility to enforce the law and liquor licensed premises found to be in breach of the Covid regulations, run the risk of being shut down under the regulations.”

A BPS spokesman added that large group gatherings are still limited to 25 people. For an indoor services or ceremonies in a church or other religious establishment, the number of people who can gather is limited to 25 per cent capacity of the indoor facility.

The number of people attending an outdoor service or ceremony – including weddings and funerals – cannot exceed 50.

Renee Ming, the Minister of National Security has said the ministry is not accepting large group applications for wakes, wedding receptions, birthday parties and similar events.

David Burt, the Premier, warned of the dangers of complacency after public health regulations were relaxed.

Speaking in the House of Assembly on Friday night, he said: “The Government has no intention of Bermuda living in a perpetual state of a public health emergency.

“Our vaccination programme is picking up. Our testing programme still exists. There is a pathway for us to return to normalcy.

“The only urging that I will give members of the public is the real and present need of us to ensure that we do not go too crazy, do not go too far, even though the curfew is over – to remember it is still vital and critically important that, until we are at a place where we are no longer in a public health emergency, we have to take precautions.

“It is urgent and essential that we all remember that.

“The unfortunate thing is, I’m hearing stories of multiple parties that have been planned for this weekend and other things.

“We have no desire to go backwards, but if there’s one lesson that was learnt during the last outbreak is that you cannot wait too long.

“And if there is any hint that there may be a new outbreak, we will certainly act very forcefully and very quickly to make sure we rein those things in.”

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Published February 24, 2021 at 8:32 am (Updated February 24, 2021 at 8:32 am)

Police close two bars for breaching Covid rules

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