Police to enforce Covid rules over Easter weekend
Police will be out in force this Easter holiday weekend to ensure that Covid-19 public safety measures are being adhered to.
At a press conference this afternoon, Assistant Police Commissioner Martin Weekes said the Bermuda Police Service “will be doing our part to push you in the right direction” and make sure there are no breaches of the rules.
And he warned that offenders will be taken to court if they break the rules. Although legislation to make breaches punishable with on-the-spot fines was passed by the Senate yesterday, it has yet to be signed into law by the Governor.
“We will continue to put people before the courts – in fact some people will be appearing before a magistrate next week,” he said.
Assistant Commissioner Weekes said that the BPS will be taking the regulations “very seriously over the weekend”.
There will be compliance checks on bars and restaurants, and also outside areas.
He added that members of the Bermuda Police Reserve will be drafted in, while the Bermuda Coastguard will be monitoring activity on the water.
Earlier in the press conference, Renee Ming, the minister for national security, recognised that the Easter weekend was “an important and iconic” holiday for many.
She said: “Good Friday and Easter Sunday are considered the most important dates on the Christian calendar.
“And from a cultural standpoint, this holiday weekend is one of the most iconic for Bermudians.
“Good Friday is steeped in tradition for us, with kite flying, hot cross buns and fish cakes.
“Typically, this is a time when we gather with our friends and families to celebrate our rich and unique heritage.
“But this year, once again, we won't be able to gather in the normal ways that we are used to.
“Instead, we must do it against the backdrop of a dangerous and fast spreading pandemic.”
The minister added that, while some traditions could be maintained they must be done so “in a limited capacity”.
She said: “Any gatherings must be done responsibly. They must be physically distanced, without the mixing of households and in small family and or friend bubbles.
“But in order to ensure that everyone is engaging in responsible behaviour, I will set out a few timely reminders for the public as we continue to navigate this serious pandemic.”
Ms Ming said that obeying the 11pm curfew was key to maintaining safety on the island.
She added that social gatherings must be limited to a maximum of ten people – including in private homes. Churches can have congregations of up to 20 people for outdoor celebrations.
She said that indoor dining in restaurants was banned, while outdoor restaurant tables were limited to a maximum of six diners.
Recreational boaters were under an 8pm curfew.
She added: “Now is not the time to become complacent.
“As a country we have demonstrated discipline and leadership in navigating this pandemic, and we must continue our vigilance.
“Please exercise a degree of personal responsibility by making smart and sensible decisions to protect you, your family, your friends and your loved ones.
“We all must continue to do what we can to mitigate and limit the spread of the virus by complying with the policies in place.”
In an earlier statement, Assistant Commissioner Weekes said that the BPS had streamlined the process for prosecuting offenders to avoid a backlog of cases in the courts
He said: “The BPS and the office of the Department of Public Prosecutions are working together to process all of the files and place persons before the courts as appropriate.
“Accordingly, a number of persons will appear in court starting next week.”
A BPS spokesperson added: “The new Covid regulations created a high volume of cases to be managed by the BPS before being ready to be transferred to the office of the DPP.
“A recent review will ensure the expeditious process of these matters following initial procedural issues that have since been corrected.”