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‘No social gatherings whatsoever’ – Caines

People will be pulled over at checkpoints set up around the clock during the course of Bermuda’s two-week lockdown, the Minister of National Security said yesterday.

Mr Caines warned: “Community advisory points will be operated by the Bermuda Police Service and the Royal Bermuda Regiment and will be in operation across the island 24 hours a day for the 14-day period.

“Pedestrians and vehicles will be stopped to ascertain the reason for them being away from their homes.”

He told the public: “Unless it is for essential travel, as specified, or you are an essential worker, your names will be recorded and you will be directed to return home. Repeat infringements will result in the consideration for your arrest under the appropriate legislation.”

Mr Caines said: “Bermuda, these are some very challenging times. We believe that we can get through them together. You might be alone in your home but we are in this together.”

He added: “Any departure from a person’s property can only be to purchase goods or for the collection of essential medications.

“During the times of essential movement, everyone must practice social-distancing of six feet between persons. There will be limited movement during the day for essential tasks.

“Persons will be permitted to exercise by foot no more than half a mile from their properties. Exercise should be only in groups of two.”

Mr Caines insisted: “Persons must remain in the confines of their home during the curfew period.

“Churches are closed. Funerals should be conducted in cemeteries with a maximum of ten mourners and weddings are suspended.

He added there should be “no social gatherings whatsoever”.

Mr Caines explained that only one member of a household should go grocery shopping “to minimise social interaction” and that they should limit what they bought to what was needed for a week.

Mr Caines said: “Individuals perceived to be purchasing in bulk or excessively will be challenged and potentially not be able to purchase the aforementioned goods.

“Groceries should only be purchased at the nearest available store to the family home.”

He added: “All recreational spaces, including beaches, parks and so on will be closed to the public.”

He explained that exempted persons included the police, RBR soldiers, Bermuda Hospitals Board staff, emergency services, medical professionals, dock workers, Belco employees and public works teams.

David Burt, the Premier, added that restaurants, including takeout and delivery services, would be closed. He said: “The purpose of this shelter in place is to ensure that as few people are moving as possible.”

Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley explained that community advisory points mounted over the curfew period had been successful.

He said: “We are seeing a level of engagement and actually a significant reduction in the number of vehicles on the roads.

“On Tuesday last week, we recorded over 1,000 - by Thursday, it was down to 250, so the message is getting across.

“This is about working together, so we trust our community to work with us.

“If there are elements of dishonesty then we’ve got the powers to deal with that.”

Mr Corbishley added: “I am extremely positive around the fact that this will work.”

A warning to landlords: David Burt, the Premier, speaks during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus pandemic yesterday as Wayne Caines, the national security minister, listens. The Premier told rental property owners that “the courts are closed” and they therefore would not be able to evict tenants that are unable to pay their rent for the duration of the pandemic (Photograph by Akil Simmons)