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Hotels back relaxation of Covid-19 regulations

Tim Morrison, president of the Bermuda Hotel Association and general manager at the Hamilton Princess and Beach Club (File photograph)

A loosening of the island’s Covid-19 restrictions was welcomed yesterday by hoteliers and restaurant owners.

Tim Morrison, the Bermuda Hotel Association president and general manager of the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, said the organisation “wholeheartedly” backed the changes, which included an easing of test requirements for vaccinated travellers.

The changes to border restrictions, announced on Friday in the House of Assembly, will come into force on March 7.

They include cutting the cost of a travel authorisation from $75 to $40.

Tests on arrival for air visitors and later tests on the island will be dropped for people with up-to-date vaccinations

SafeKey requirements were also dropped for venues including restaurants and bars – and maximum group sizes were raised from 20 to 100.

Mr Morrison said: “It was a testament to the Government’s commitment to working with tourism and the hospitality industry to take steps towards fully reopening our economy safely, while balancing the appropriate levels of ongoing health and safety protocols.”

He added that the BHA would work closely with the Bermuda Tourism Authority to keep “key international travel markets”, as well as the airlines serving Bermuda, up to date on developments.

Mr Morrison said a collective effort was under way to regain “key corporate, leisure and group business back to our destination”.

Stephen Todd, the chief executive of the BHA, thanked the Government, health professionals and “everyone, both on the front line and in support roles“, along with the public for keeping visitors and residents safe during the pandemic.

Mr Todd said a relaxation of test rules “fully enables Bermuda to compete on a level playing field with other international destinations and countries who are taking similar steps to restore their economies and to get their residents back to full employment”.

Kendaree Burgess, the chief executive of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, added that the chamber was pleased that “numerous meetings between health and industry have led to a relaxation of the regulations”.

Ms Burgess said the restaurant sector saw the axing of SafeKey as “a lifeline to an ailing industry”.

She added: “Families are returning to indoor dining – anecdotal reports are of full dining rooms.

“The retail and tourism sectors are also breathing a sigh of relief, confident that the latest round of changes will hasten a return to in-person, on-island meetings and events.”

Ms Burgess said the industry recognised that Covid-19 continued – but insisted the island had “the knowledge of how best to protect ourselves and to operate safely”.

She added: “We look forward to increased activity to restart our economic engines.”

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Published February 09, 2022 at 7:40 am (Updated February 09, 2022 at 7:40 am)

Hotels back relaxation of Covid-19 regulations

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