Blu pays price with two-week closure order
The restaurant where a dinner party that cost two government ministers their Cabinet seats was held has been slapped with a 14-day closure order.
Kim Wilson, the health minister, said at the weekend the shutdown at Blu in Warwick would take effect from July 11.
The move came after Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, and Zane DeSilva, the Minister of Tourism and Transport, were forced to quit the government front bench after they ignored strict Covid-19 rules for indoor events at the restaurant on July 3.
Ms Wilson said the order was imposed after a “detailed investigation by the Ministry of Health into the large gathering event held at the restaurant ...”
She added the investigation concluded that the venue had broken public-health regulations introduced under pandemic emergency powers.
Ms Wilson said: “That evening's events were extremely regrettable for all involved and I take no pleasure in having to issue any business with a temporary closure notice during these challenging economic times.
“However, it is crucial that lessons are learnt from this and that we continue to protect ourselves and our community from the threat of Covid-19, particularly now that our borders are open and we have active Covid-19 cases on island.
Ms Wilson added: “Bermuda has a high proportion of seniors and chronic diseases compared to other countries, which has a serious impact on our coronavirus mortality rate, meaning that we have to be extremely strict with our control measures.
“As I and the Premier have stressed many times before, Phase 4 is our new normal and not a licence to party.”
Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley said earlier: “That's direction ... from the Ministry of Health, but it just represents the serious consequences of breaching the Covid regulations and the position of the Government, which I fully support, is making clear action and a clear message if the regulations are broken, there will be consequences.”
He was speaking in one of his regular video blogs on Facebook.
The shutting order came a week after the party at the restaurant, said to be a fundraiser for Meals on Wheels, where pandemic regulations were breached.
The event was given a special exemption by the Ministry of National Security to have more than the maximum of 50 guests allowed under coronavirus rules.
Mr Caines and Mr DeSilva were both filmed in breach of safety regulations at the dinner.
The two quit last Monday after they were “invited to resign” by David Burt, the Premier.
Their departure came after footage of the party emerged that showed the two MPs moving around and dancing on a stage without masks and failing to maintain social-distancing.
More videos of the event posted on social media showed both ministers dancing for about 40 seconds alongside a saxophonist and others in a room full of revellers without masks.
Other clips also featured partygoers dancing on tables without masks or social-distancing and the saxophonist walking in between diners.
Police later confirmed that they would examine the potential public-health risk posed by the failure to wear masks at the event and that a decision would be made on whether to forward a file for review by the Director of the Department of Public Prosecutions.