Church services could be broadcast on radio
Worshippers could be asked to stay at home while church services are broadcast online and on the radio to prevent the spread of the potential killer strain of coronavirus.
National security minister Wayne Caines will meet with church leaders at Cabinet today to discuss the issue, three days after David Burt, the Premier, urged the public to avoid gatherings of more than 50 people.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church said on Saturday it would halt gatherings of more than 50 people for the next four weeks.
Anglican, Catholic and AME services went ahead yesterday, but the Most Reverend Wes Spiewak, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Hamilton, said his church would fall into line with the Government's recommendation today.
A ministry spokeswoman said Mr Caines would meet Bermuda's faith-based community to discuss the Covid-19 preparation and guidance plans “regarding large social gatherings”.
The national security ministry's Disaster Risk Reduction and Mitigation Team will outline suggested precautionary methods that have been recommended by health experts and professionals.
The spokeswoman said these include “practising social-distancing or conducting services without congregants, and alternatively broadcasting services online or via radio for congregants to view or listen to from their homes”.
Mr Caines said: “These are unprecedented and extraordinary times that we are experiencing as a country and our No 1 priority is to ensure the health and wellbeing of all residents during this time of uncertainty.
“Our faith-based organisations can be a trusted voice in the community and help with the distribution of our official health and safety advice and guidance.
“So we are looking for their partnership in helping us to reach our seniors and our vulnerable members of the community. On Monday, we will host a meeting with the interfaith community so that we can share some key information with them.”
The administrators of the Bermuda Conference of Seventh-day Adventists said: “The Bermuda Conference has proactively adopted the Government's recommendation to suspend all public gatherings involving more than 50 people for the next four weeks.
“With the World Health Organisation now declaring Covid-19 to be a pandemic, we want to be seen as part of the solution to prevent any possible spread of the virus.”
The statement added: “Some may consider these recommendations extreme, but we must move cautiously as we navigate in these uncertain times.
“We, therefore, urge all to stay connected through phone calls, texts, e-mails, social media and, more importantly, to remember each other in prayer.”
Bishop Spiewak said: “The Catholic Church will follow what we will be requested to do.
“Willing to be proactive, I have already cancelled the weekly seniors events at our Cathedral Hall and the Sunday school in our churches.
“Moreover, beginning March 7, I recommended precautious changes to be introduced in our services.”
• The meeting will take place at the Cabinet Office at 4pm. E-mail email@example.com for more information and to confirm attendance. For the latest Bermuda Government official health and public services information and guidance related to Covid-19 visit www.gov.bm/coronavirus