Dunkley says controversial hotel quarantines should be ditched
Government today came under fire for its decision to push ahead with mandatory quarantine for unvaccinated arrivals to the island – despite softening its position on the regulation.
The Government announced last month that anyone who landed in Bermuda and had not been vaccinated – including residents – would have to quarantine in a hotel for two weeks at their own expense.
But the Government back-pedalled last night and announced a raft of exemptions to the policy, scheduled to come into force on Sunday.
The Opposition One Bermuda Alliance, however, said the exemptions did not go far enough and that Government was “out of touch” with the public for not ditching the controversial change.
Michael Dunkley, the Opposition spokesman on national security and health, said: “It is a relief for everyone to have almost all Covid restrictions relaxed this coming Sunday, as patience with the restrictions and lockdowns has worn out.
“Additionally, many have lost faith and patience with the recent handling of the pandemic by the PLP Government due to poor communication, double standards and questionable restrictions.
“The mandatory quarantine for non-vaccinated travellers at a Government-approved facility, where the traveller has to pay for their stay, is the latest pandemic policy that is drawing great angst in the community.”
Mr Dunkley added: “The OBA has been very supportive of sound Government policy throughout Covid, but this is one that we do not support.
“While Premier Burt has attempted to defend this policy by saying the risk is too great to allow them to quarantine at home, the OBA contends that the PLP is out of touch with the people we serve.
“With proper safeguards in place, including monitoring and reporting, and tough penalties for those who violate the quarantine, we believe it can be safely done.
“The PLP Government has had ample time to put this in place, especially since they have pushed back the start date by weeks.”
Mr Dunkley said: “Living on a small island travel is necessary and not a luxury.
“The PLP has simply disregarded the fact that many Bermudians cannot afford the significant expense of quarantine after travel. Why should they be further burdened by this PLP policy?
“The PLP has also overlooked the fact that the vast majority of Bermudians have been vigilant about following the numerous Covid restrictions and lockdowns. Why should they be further burdened by this policy?
He added: “It is clear throughout the pandemic that the PLP has failed to a large extent to hold those who break Covid rules accountable.”
Mr Dunkley said: “The Government needs to review this policy, push the commencement date back if need be, and put in place a system where travellers can quarantine from home.”