Too many restrictions will put off tourists
I am from America. I subscribe to your online paper to keep up with the goings-on in Bermuda, my favourite place to visit. In fact, I have been coming to Bermuda since 1989 every year.
We have stayed at many locations: Marriott Castle Harbour, Hamilton Princess, Southampton Princess, Sonesta Beach Resort, St James Condominiums, Rosedon, Sandpiper, Cambridge Beaches, Pompano, and probably others I have forgotten.
We have dined at many of the restaurants: Green Shutters, MR Onions, Romanoffs, Ye Ole Cock N Feathers, Tio Pepe's, and many of the present locations in hotels and around the island.
I want you to know that we have been locked down in Maryland for a number of months. All the while we have been thinking about our eventual return to a holiday spot that we love. This holiday is wonderful every year. We feel safe in Bermuda. We have never been disturbed while on holiday from any of the Bermudians and we love the people and the hospitality.
I find it necessary to address Bermuda's most recent way that we are to be treated when visiting the island. Please put yourself in the shoes of a tourist coming to Bermuda post-Covid. Look at the policies that we will be under to come and visit.
Do you think that these practices are a way that a tourist would want to be under when they come there? Do these protocols seem a little restrictive and constant? I am talking about everything a tourist must do to visit, and while they are there and before their arrival.
First, I want you to know I come from a place where I have used reason to understand what Covid is doing. Mostly, Covid is affecting the elderly or those with underlying health conditions.
Has Bermuda not seen this and put this together? I live near two epicentres — Washington and Baltimore. I am less than a 30-minute drive to either city. I still have yet to know anyone that has had Covid and, most importantly, died from Covid. It is rare.
Some of the things I do know is that excessive wiping and cleaning, although a good practice, does nothing to kill Covid. These antibacterials that are used everywhere kill bacteria, not viruses, which is what Covid-19 is.
Sunlight kills Covid and other viruses within a second. Open-air activities cannot spread Covid. The wearing of masks has led to things like skin irritation, acne and in some cases pleurisy in people who have to wear masks all day long for work. Not to mention the mental distraction and frustration to such a lifestyle change.
Please ask around the tourism community if the practices they are now enforcing will encourage tourism to Bermuda. Look into the facts about viruses not bacteria and how any of the practices that the tourism board is thinking about, or has implemented already, are going to be good for a holidaying public that want to get away from the stresses they have endured over these many months.
I find it hard that I commit to airline tickets and hotel expenses months in advance, and then have to submit myself to a Covid test within 72 hours of my departure. If I test positive, I cannot come to Bermuda.
You need to know that being a resident of Maryland, our governor purchased $9 million of Covid tests from South Korea. They have a 48 per cent pass/fail accuracy rate. This means I would have to take three tests to make sure I do or do not have Covid-19 and take the best of three test results to be close to the actual reality.
In either case, I lose my holiday. I lose the hotel and the airfare. Does this seem like a good gamble? It is thousands of dollars I will gamble with to come to Bermuda or do I just stay here in the States and go to Florida or another location that is less restrictive.
Think also about how the tourist is to be treated during the trip to Bermuda and then upon arrival. None of these practices add to the idea of a holiday, which is where you leave your troubles and pressures behind you for a short period to relax and become involved with a refreshing and recharging of the human spirit.
I hope that more reasonable heads can come together before your season is lost. It is not bacteria that should be the focus but the Covid-19 virus and how to be smart in the approach — not just thinking of ways to be restrictive.
It seems that those who are making policies are trying to be creative on restrictions instead of being creative in the adverse.