Empty car parks and quiet streets – Hamilton is strangely peaceful – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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Empty car parks and quiet streets - Hamilton is strangely peaceful

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Front Street was empty as the first day of the stay-at-home order came to an end (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Tourists Callum, Jessie and Lucy McNamara plan to return to the US early because of Bermuda’s stay-at-home order (Photograph by Sarah Lagan)
The car parks on Front Street were empty (Photograph by Sarah Lagan)
Hamilton Harbour was bereft of boats (Photograph by Sarah Lagan)

On the first day of Bermuda’s second lockdown, Sarah Lagan toured an eerily quiet Hamilton where car parks were empty and those that were working were enjoying some peace and quiet.

The roads, sidewalks and waters of Hamilton were eerily quiet for a Tuesday afternoon on what was the first day of Bermuda’s second lockdown.

As fate would have it, it was a gloriously sunny day tempered by a cool breeze but gone were the throngs of workers, tourists and shoppers, and the sparkling harbour was bereft of boats.

“It’s nice to have some peace and quiet,” said a dockworker who stopped for a masked and socially-distanced chat.

“The ship is on its way back. It was quieter than normal this morning, there were fewer trucks. It’s sporadic now. Most of our staff are working but some had to stay home to look after their children.”

While there was some traffic on the road, there were very few people walking about and it felt distinctly like an off-season Sunday.

All the businesses were shuttered up except for the grocery stores and even they were lacking in queues.

The bus terminal had only pigeons to occupy it while all of the Bermi rental cars on Happy Valley Road were parked in a neat row outside the depot.

On Front Street, there was very little foot traffic, a handful of couples and singles out strolling and a few of the city’s homeless men were sat near the flagpole

One homeless man, who goes by the name Mr Knight, assured me he felt safe and that he was going to be okay during stay-at-home even though he didn’t have a home of his own to stay at.

“I’ll go up to the Salvation Army Shelter, they can take me in, I can have a shower and I’ll have food and a bed. Last time I went to the shelter at CedarBridge Academy.

“It’s been real quiet today, it was a lot quieter this morning.”

While we were talking another homeless man came and gave him a piece of his chicken. I asked if they looked out for each other, and Mr Knight replied: “Yes, we have to. Next time I get some food I’ll share mine with him.”

I drove into the number one car park as the barriers were up and it was all but empty. Taking in the view of Hamilton Harbour I couldn’t remember a time it had ever been so peaceful.

Driving up Queen Street I stopped to speak with a mother Jessie McNamara and her young daughter Lucy. They had just received their Covid-19 test and Jessie explained she had decided to return to the US early as there was nothing for them to do here.

“I am Bermudian but live on the East Coast. We were supposed to go and visit an island and go swimming and all that fun stuff but we can’t do any of that now. We were going to be here for 10 days but we want to go home early. We will still have to quarantine when we get back.

“It’s a bummer – we knew there was a risk of this happening. We did get to see my brother and some family members but we had wanted to see other family and friends. Maybe we can come back in the summer but we will keep a close eye on the numbers before we do.”

Parked nearby was a gentleman who works for the City of Hamilton’s sanitation department. He said it had been just as busy as a normal day as businesses still had to get rid of their trash from the day before.

“It’s just another day, the trash is still coming out as normal. The trash always seems to come, it did during the last lockdown even though the businesses were closed.”

He said we wouldn’t be where we are now if people would just listen and stick to the rules. However, he was convinced it would only be a short lockdown, adding: “It has to be as SailGP must go on.

“They [government] will still do it as it will make them too much money not to.”

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Published April 14, 2021 at 8:03 am (Updated April 14, 2021 at 7:44 am)

Empty car parks and quiet streets - Hamilton is strangely peaceful

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