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Police break up illegal party with 100 people at Botanical Gardens

Police have launched an investigation into a weekend party that breached Covid-19 rules.

A police spokesman said that officers were alerted to a celebration at the Horticultural Hall in Paget’s Botanical Gardens last Friday night with more than 100 people in attendance.

The maximum size for a gathering is pegged at 25 under the coronavirus regulations.

The spokesman added: “No one was wearing masks and there was no social distancing.“Based on the number of persons at the location and the reported breaches, several police units were dispatched to assist.”

He said: “The organiser of the event could not be located among the crowd and no one was willing to assist police with their inquiries. “However, the details of several vehicles which began leaving the scene as police arrived were recorded.”

The police did not respond to questions on why no one was detained at the scene.

The spokesman said police got several anonymous calls just before 11pm to warn them about the gathering.

He added that special permission was needed from the national security minister to organise events with more than the allowed number of people.

The public works ministry, responsible for the parks department, did not respond to a series of questions about the breach.

But a spokesman said the ministry would issue a response today.

Questions included if a reason was given for the event when the booking was made, if checks were made by the department to ensure hirers stuck to the rules, if parks staff were on duty for events in their buildings and, if not, if changes might be made because of Covid-19 rules.

The ministry was also asked if it had passed on the name of whoever booked the event to police.

David Burt, the Premier, warned last week that the island could be on the verge of a spike in coronavirus cases — caused in part by house parties and private functions where health regulations were ignored.

The number of active cases of Covid-19 has risen dramatically in the last two weeks.

A house party in Smiths Parish in mid-February — now labelled a superspreader event — is believed to be the cause of the increase.

Mr Burt reintroduced a curfew on Tuesday night.

He said at the time: “From the very start, I have always stated that it only takes one person to set us as a country back.

“One person to cause harm to our economy. One person who can set off the chain of events that will have more students getting set back on their education by not being able to go back to school.

“One person who can cause a chain of events that can cause an outbreak that can put persons in the hospital or, unfortunately, lead to more dire consequences, as we have seen recently.”

Mr Burt added: “We have learnt, and we will act quickly, when there are outbreaks to ensure that we can constrain any outbreaks so that they do not lead to further disruption.”

“As a country, we must not let the freedoms we enjoy allow us to forget that we all have a responsibility to keep ourselves, and our fellow Bermudians, safe.

Illegal party: The Botanical Gardens in Paget, where police on Friday broke up a party in breach of Covid-19 limits on the size of gatherings (File photograph)

.Applications for exemptions can be made at https://forms.gov.bm/Exemption-for-Large-Gatherings

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Published March 08, 2021 at 8:45 am (Updated March 08, 2021 at 11:53 am)

Police break up illegal party with 100 people at Botanical Gardens

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