Covid-19: lockdown to be eased from this weekend
Bermuda will move into phase 2 on its road map to recovery this weekend, the health minister revealed last night.
Kim Wilson said Bermuda’s health indicators for the latest coronavirus outbreak were “moving in the right direction” and the recent clampdown would be eased from Sunday.
The latest figures put the country closer to targets set out by David Burt, the Premier, in his national address two weeks ago, with the goal of elimination of on-island transmission of the coronavirus.
The curfew will be changed to 10pm to 5am after weeks of an 8pm start.
Other measures included:
· Gatherings of up to ten people will be permitted, with the national security minister able to grant exemptions at her discretion
· Remote working will no longer be required, but “strongly encouraged”
· Schools will reopen on Monday, along with daycare centres and nurseries
· Retail businesses will be able to admit customers at 20 per cent capacity
· Grocery stores can drop the alphabetical entry requirement and will also operate at 20 per cent capacity
· Restaurants can have outdoor dining with a maximum of six people at a table, which must be six feet apart
· Bars can serve customers outdoors at tables only, with the same restrictions as restaurants
· Church services, including weddings and funerals, can take place indoors with a 20 per cent capacity to a maximum of 25 people. Outdoor services are also limited to 25 people. Larger wakes are not permitted.
· Gyms and other fitness services can open, but equipment must be 10ft apart and masks must be worn. High intensity exercises like spin classes cannot take place indoors.
· Recreational boating is allowed between 5am and 8pm but raft-ups are still banned
· Charter boats can operate under requirements laid out by Marine & Ports.
· Personal care services such as hairdressers, barbers and spas can operate, but can only offer services where masks can be worn.
Ms Wilson emphasised the need for people to continue to wear masks and use social distancing.
She added: “This transition to phase 2 is not quite a return to life as normal.
“We will get there eventually – if we all work together and do our part.”
Renée Ming, the national security minister, outlined cases where exemptions would be granted.
Curfew exemptions will apply to anyone driving someone who is allowed out after the lockdown.
This includes people travelling to or from the airport, essential workers or care home workers headed to the job, or licensed fisherman and commercial farmers, and staff at such businesses.
Exemptions also apply to people responding to alarm activations at buildings or where emergency work must be carried out.
Large group exemption applications can be submitted at the Government’s website.
David Burt, the Premier, offered condolences to the families of two men killed in road crashes this week and to the families of six people who died of Covid-19 since the last press conference.
Mr Burt said the Government did not take pleasure in the imposition of restrictions and quarantine requirements.
He added: “I do not like this policy one bit. I did not enjoy having the state of emergency. I dislike telling people they cannot go to church or to school.
“But what I may like or what may be convenient to people must take a back seat to keeping Bermuda safe.”
Mr Burt said: “Too many people have died as a result of this outbreak.
“Too many people have gone hungry as a result of this outbreak.
“There is a moral imperative to do what we must to keep that kind of pain and upset from continuing.“
He added home quarantines could replace the controversial supervised quarantines in designated centres, but would still present a risk as people might still visit someone who later tested positive.
Mr Burt warned that the island could find itself in the middle of another outbreak as a result.
He said supervised quarantine reduced the risk of spread of the coronavirus – especially new variants.
Mr Burt added: “Supervised quarantine will end when the pandemic ends and we no longer need to be concerned about new variations of the coronavirus.”
He said that the Government would consider different quarantine regimes for countries based on their safety levels.
But he highlighted the UK, US and Canada all had community transmission – and had cases of the most virulent variants.