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You can get married but don’t scuba dive

Wedding bells are to ring out again, but scuba diving will be banned under amendments to Covid-19 regulations.

David Burt, the Premier, told the House of Assembly on Friday that the amendments had been approved by Cabinet as he put the regulations before the House for debate.

He explained that under the amended rules, weddings and domestic partnerships would be allowed, as long as ten or fewer people were involved, including the officiant.

Mr Burt said the decision to stop scuba diving was made because the island's hyperbaric chamber — needed to treat cases of the bends — was shut down to conserve oxygen supplies and allow the use of more ventilators if needed.

He added that money service businesses would also be allowed to operate under the amended regulations, with restrictions in place to ensure public safety.

However, Scott Pearman, the Shadow Attorney-General, said the revised regulations were not clear about which businesses could remain open and which would have to stay closed.

He explained the regulations included lists of business types in both categories, but there were also businesses “in the middle”.

Mr Pearman said he also had some reservations about enforcement powers, including rules that allowed enforcement police and other officials to enter any property except for private homes.

He added: “That allows entrance into private places that are not residences.

“Access to any private property is something that is typically regulated by the courts and by warrants.”

Mr Pearman said that the powers allowed Royal Bermuda Regiment soldiers to use reasonable force, but that he was not sure if they had all been trained to exercise that power.

He said: “It would be an unfortunate thing if a person from the regiment is called upon to use reasonable force when they might not have had the required training.”

Mr Pearman suggested that the adoption of “nudge penalties”, such as on-the-spot fines, would help enforcement efforts.

He added that details on social-distancing policies should be included in the regulations instead of in separate documents released by the Ministry of Health.

Wayne Caines, the national security minister, defended the RBR's competence and training and said the new round of restrictions came with the “right amount of carrot and stick”.

Craig Cannonier, the Opposition leader, commended the Government for asking for Opposition views on the amendments, which he said came with “some tough conversations”.

To view the Covid-19 closure schedule, and the emergency powers regulations and amendments, click on the PDF links under “Related Media”

David Burt, the Premier (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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Published May 11, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated May 11, 2020 at 9:03 am)

You can get married but don’t scuba dive

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