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Strict new rules for shopping

Spot checks: Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Shopping habits will be strictly regulated under the two-week shelter-at-home restrictions that started this morning.Wayne Caines, the national security minister, said only limited movement would be allowed — a policy enforced by police officers and the Royal Bermuda Regiment.Visits to grocery stores and gas stations from Monday will be allocated alphabetically by surname, with people with last names from A to K permitted on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.People with surnames from L to Z will be allowed to shop on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.Sundays were reserved for seniors aged 65 or over, although they can also use other days based on their surnames.Shoppers should take identification or a utility bill to confirm their last name and Mr Caines said police would consider taking action against people who break the rules.Visits to pharmacies will not be subject to the last name system. Mr Caines added it was “critical” to remember it was illegal for people to enter a home that is not their own or to allow anyone else to come into theirs.Offenders face a fine of up to $10,000, six months’ imprisonment, or both, under emergency orders signed by John Rankin, the Governor. Mr Caines said shopping supplies should be limited to a maximum of seven days’ worth and that bulk purchases “will be challenged”.People should visit their nearest stores and only one member of a household should leave home to buy groceries or medication, with children remaining at home when possible.The minister explained that “specific delivery services” will be allowed to deliver groceries. Mr Caines said exercise would be limited to an hour a day on foot, up to half a mile from home, with a maximum of two people in a group.He emphasised that “no social gatherings whatsoever” would be allowed.The minister hoped that co-parenting families could make arrangements for where their children will shelter in place.He added that the rules stated that a minor child of parents who live apart “shall remain at the home where the child is living on commencement until these regulations cease to have effect”.Mr Caines said that it meant wherever a child was at 8pm last night was where they would stay for the next 14 days.Prison visits and visits to seniors’ homes were also suspended. People found out at night who do not have exemptions will be ordered home and people involved in “repeated infringement” would be arrested.Mr Caines said there would be “rolling checks” by police patrols — and that BPS officers and Royal Bermuda Regiment troops would work together “24 hours a day for the next 14 days” to enforce the restrictions.Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, said that visits to the hospital were not permitted unless in exceptional circumstances, including end of life care and the birth of a child.She added: “The suggestion is obviously to call ahead first, don’t just appear at the hospital because you may be turned away.”