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Coronavirus clampdown hits social and sports events

Ernest Peets, the Minister of Youth, Culture and Sport (File photograph)

Group sizes allowed under large group exemptions have been reduced, and extra restrictions have been placed on already approved events because of an increase in coronavirus infections.

At a press conference on Covid yesterday, Ernest Peets, the Minister of Youth, Culture and Sport, said that approvals for large groups would be limited to groups of 100 for outdoor events or 50 for indoor events from Thursday.

Events that are a mix of indoor and outdoor will be limited to 50 people.

Dr Peets said: “This will apply to all future applications for the time being.

“Previously approved events can proceed with their approved numbers, although we do recommend that event organisers limit group sizes as much as possible.”

He added that exemptions approved earlier would have to follow the curfew and events would have to end in time to allow people to return home before the curfew started.

Dr Peets warned that people who attended large events — even those approved before the clampdown — would need to provide a clear antigen test taken that day in addition to a valid SafeKey.

“For sporting events, this means spectators must produce both a SafeKey and an antigen test.

“For the sporting group, comprised of athletes and officials, the return to play testing framework will remain in effect as the requirement to train and compete.”

Dr Peets added: “The ministry recognises that some large group events were approved before announcing these protocols. We are keenly aware of the impact they may have on organisers.

“However, these precautions are essential to keep us all safe, and antigen tests empower hosts and attendees to practice personal responsibility and social solidarity to keep events safe.”

He said that the Government does take action when it receives reports from the public an event has not followed SafeKey guidelines.

“I can assure you that the enforcement team, when they are made aware of any lapses as it relates to the proper implementation of SafeKey, those situations are addressed immediately.

“But of course we need the public to be aware of what is required and, when there are situations where it is not being implemented properly that we are properly notified so we can take the necessary action.”

Dr Peets said that the Covid-19 pandemic had severely affected cultural and sporting events over the past two years and that it was “disheartening” to have to impose further restrictions.

“My ministry fully appreciates the health and social benefits of sport and culture and their importance.

“Nevertheless, we must balance this with the country’s need to ensure everyone's safety.”

More information on Large Group Guidelines and conditions, including SafeKey requirements and guidelines for the number of attendees, are available online at www.gov.bm.

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Published December 22, 2021 at 10:40 am (Updated December 22, 2021 at 10:40 am)

Coronavirus clampdown hits social and sports events

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