$57m in Covid-19 benefits paid out to workers so far
Almost $57 million was paid by the Government in assistance to more than 10,000 unemployed residents as the Covid-19 pandemic hit the island’s workforce this year.
Jason Hayward, the labour minister, revealed a sharp drop in numbers for further benefits as he appeared with Curtis Dickinson, the finance minister, to outline relief and economic recovery plans.
Mr Hayward said only a handful of residents were still on the initial 18-week unemployment benefits offered at the start of the lockdown.
He added a total of 1,202 application forms for further relief had been collected so far from the Department of Financial Assistance.
Mr Hayward added that 338 of the applications had been returned to the department, and 76 people had been approved for financial assistance.
A total of 73 people have been approved for the supplemental unemployment benefits.
Mr Hayward said redundancies had hit the hospitality sector hardest, but had affected “a vast variety of occupational categories”.
But he added there were no precise figures available for the numbers of unemployed.
Mr Hayward said Bermudians were to be prepared to replace work permit holders in jobs including landscaping, restaurants and cleaning.
He added Bermudian workers would get top priority for next April’s tourism season, as well for as the opening of the St Regis resort in St George’s.
Mr Hayward said careers fairs were planned to help hundreds of workers scheduled to be made redundant from the Fairmont Southampton Hotel, which will shut for renovations at the end of this month.
He added a moratorium on other work permit categories was to be announced “in the coming weeks”.