OBA calls for action over 'vaccine hesitancy’
Government should offer incentives to overcome vaccine hesitancy, give more clarity on unemployment benefit and give a Plan B to families and employers if schools cannot reopen on April 12 as planned, according to the One Bermuda Alliance.
The calls came in the wake of Premier David Burt warning over ‘staggering numbers’ of Covid cases in the days ahead and new restrictions that came into effect yesterday.
An OBA spokeswoman said last night: “In order to overcome vaccine hesitancy, we are asking our Government to offer incentives to those who are vaccinated.
“The US Centre for Disease Control guidelines indicate that if people are vaccinated, they can gather in small numbers, while still wearing masks, thus reducing the isolation during Covid.
“We ask that people who are vaccinated be allowed to meet with other vaccinated people, up to the maximum group size numbers, thus encouraging more people to become vaccinated. We cannot paint everyone with the same brush as the number of people who are fully vaccinated increases.”
The OBA is also calling on Government to offer clarity regarding the unemployment benefit and to “ensure that payments are made accurately and swiftly to individuals that are applying for it”.
“We have similar concerns for companies as they are also receiving economic support from the Economic Development Corporation. Many companies are struggling from the impact the pandemic had through 2020 and urgently need help to continue to stay afloat.
“We are also calling on the Government to freeze all government mandated increases - fees, taxes, mandated premiums or government regulated expenses - while continuing to examine government cost savings measures.”
On having a Plan B, the OBA spokeswoman said: “The education of our children is very important to us and we need to ensure that, given how much school time has been lost already this year, we do not waste more time and have an alternative plan ready to go.
“We hope that schools can reopen safely, however, we urge our Government to outline what will happen if they are unable to do so, allowing parents, teachers, schools and businesses to use the two-week school break to plan and implement the changes needed.
“Finally, we call for more information about the regulations that the PLP government passed in the House of Assembly on Friday for those who are breaking the guidelines.
“What training will be offered to those individuals who will be able to issue tickets, whether there will there be fixed fines for offences, and whether these fines will actually work to help decrease non-compliance with guidelines.
“Will fining individuals help stop the spread or just make it harder on people who are already struggling? And if this is implemented, considering our government’s record of collection of outstanding warrants and fines, we ask what plan is being put in place for the swift collection of the fines and penalties.”
The spokeswoman added: “At this time, we call upon all Bermudians to work together as we always have done in the past during moments of crisis. We must act no differently in this crisis than we do during a storm.”