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You will be shut down, ‘reckless’ businesses warned

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A zero-tolerance approach to breaches of rules designed to limit the spread of Covid-19 will be taken, the Premier pledged last night.

David Burt warned that businesses would be ordered to close if regulations were not followed over the second stage of the island's reopening, which started last Thursday.

He said: “While Phase 2 is progressing, it is important that each of us are doing our part following the rules and holding each other accountable.

“I am troubled to see people not wearing masks while they're not engaging in physical-distancing and businesses that are not adhering to the necessary protocols.”

Mr Burt added: “What can, and cannot, be done during Phase 2 will take some getting used to and mistakes will be made, but quite simply there is no excuse for some of the reckless behaviour that I have seen.”

The Premier highlighted that other countries had experienced increased numbers of Covid-19 cases after people failed to act in a responsible way.

He vowed: “Bermuda will not be one of those countries.

“To that end, I have directed the Minister of National Security and the Minister of Health that we will be adopting a zero-tolerance approach with regards to enforcement of the rules for Phase 2.”

Mr Burt said later he hoped there would be no need to go back to the tougher Phase 1 restrictions.

He added: “I don't want to make it seem as though there is a significant number of businesses that are not observing the protocols.”

The Premier highlighted that emergency powers regulations meant the Minister of Health could shut down businesses that did not follow the rules.

He added: “We cannot allow a business to take risks which could put the community at risk and set us back.”

Mr Burt said it could take a single “asymptomatic superspreader” to halt the island's progress in the battle against the coronavirus.

Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, said Bermuda had logged no new cases of Covid-19 after 241 test results came back yesterday.

The total number of confirmed cases was unchanged at 133 and the death toll remained at nine.

Seven people were being treated in hospital, with two in critical care, and 89 people have recovered from infection.

Ms Wilson reminded residents to wear masks in public and advised people to consider their activities over the Bermuda Day holiday weekend.

The minister said: “Don't visit crowded beaches or parks where you cannot stay at least six feet away from others at all times.”

She added: “Avoid gathering with others beyond your household, if you can ... or keep your ‘social bubbles' small and limited to only a few individuals.”

Ms Wilson said: “I would like to encourage everyone to please use common sense in the coming days and weeks.

“As the weather heats up, the temptation might be there to socialise with others in larger groups. But please don't.

“Think before you commit to a social plan. Think — is this safe? Am I being responsible? Is this plan putting me or anyone else at risk?

“If you hesitate for even a moment in answering these questions, then please don't do it.”

She asked people with family members in hospital who were fit for discharge to help to “arrange a more appropriate care setting” for them.

Ms Wilson added: “Every hospital bed is needed for this national crisis right now.”

Wayne Caines, the national security minister, said the Bermuda Coastguard had engaged with 339 vessels over the weekend.

There were 32 boat skippers warned, 27 of them for curfew violations.

Mr Caines said boat passengers who jumped into the water in groups of more than ten should “cease immediately”.

He added that some members of the boating public were “blurring the definition of rafting up”.

Mr Caines said that, subject to Government approval, travel agency Travel Edge was prepared to arrange a repatriation flight from Toronto in early June.

The minister told the public that there had been “a shortfall” in some products on the island but “many of them have been replenished”.

Mr Caines added: “Commodities like yeast as well as flour have been sourced from different overseas suppliers and we can expect to see these products soon on our grocery store shelves.”

He said that all Department of Immigration services would be “fully operational” next Monday.

Mr Burt also emphasised the need for people and companies to change.

He said: “This pandemic has accelerated the need for businesses to be responsive, customer driven and innovative and accelerated the need for each of us to personally and professionally evolve.”

The Premier added that there were 222 submissions on how to kick-start the economy on the Government's special webpage.

He praised a “spirit of optimism and creativity”, as well as camaraderie among the public.

Mr Burt said: “Let us continue to support each other, encourage each other, lean on each other and uplift each other.”

To view the statements in full from the Premier and Minister of Health, click on the PDF links under “Related Media”

Zero tolerance: David Burt, the Premier, speaks at the press conference last night (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, last night (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Graphic by Christina White
Graphic by Christina White

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Published May 26, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated May 26, 2020 at 8:59 am)

You will be shut down, ‘reckless’ businesses warned

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