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OBA attacks Government over stay-at-home planning

Cole Simons, Opposition Leader (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The Leader of the Opposition tonight accused the government of not properly planning for the stay-at-home order.

Cole Simons said that he understood the reasons why the order is to be enforced tomorrow, but said not enough details had been given in terms of how business will operate, sustain themselves or how Covid-19 restrictions will be enforced.

He said that he had heard from many people who believed that operational measures should have been provided yesterday when news of the order was first announced by David Burt, the Premier.

Mr Simons said in a statement tonight: “The One Bermuda Alliance has been inundated with questions from people from all walks of life who are already very stressed and concerned about the time that it will take to receive their unemployment payment benefits to take care of their families.

“Likewise, business owners are stressed and some are depressed because this could actually be their last straw and they can ill afford to wait weeks or months to receive economic support from, the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation, to help sustain their businesses.

“When it comes to enforcement of the Emergency Powers Covid Regulations, there is a real sense within the community that it is just not working and that the Government continues to be soft on crime.

“Time and time again this issue has been raised at many of the Government’s weekly press conferences and the Premier continuously reiterates the fact that this is a matter for the Governor to address, as it is under her purview.

“Given where we are today, this refrain does nothing to improve the enforcement of these regulations.”

Mr Simons also highlighted the impact on care givers who he said were attempting to get Certificates of Exemptions in order for them to legally work under the order.

“It's not just them – last night I was advised that the Government employees who issue these certificates are still waiting for direction,” Mr Simons said.

He added: “On the Covid mitigation side, taking 48 hours to deliver a positive result is unacceptable because an asymptomatic positive case can infect at least eight people over a four-day period. We must have these results delivered with 24 hours.”

Mr Simons questioned whether the international sail race SailGP, scheduled to take place on April 24 and 25, will continue as planned.

“If it does, let me state that it will be a lightning rod for most of Bermuda’s sporting bodies who have been unable to host sporting events and competitions for the past year.

“On Sunday evening when asked about this event, the Premier indicated, that he would work with the organisers of the event to ensure that the event and its participants adhere to our Covid-19 protocols and regulations. He did not state whether or not this prestigious event will proceed.

“What is most irritating to our national sporting bodies is the fact that this year is an Olympic Year in Tokyo and our elite athletes who have qualified, or are trying to qualify for this event or other qualifying events, cannot train locally to the extent that they would like to due to the Covid19 restrictions.”

Mr Burt announced on Sunday evening that the stay-at-home policy would be in place for at least seven days.

He said all businesses apart from grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations would be closed. Limited banking services would also be permitted. These businesses would be open from 11am to 7pm.

Grocery stores will return to alphabetised days for customers and household mixing is also prohibited by law, he said.

Mr Burt said that more details would be given at the weekly press conference tomorrow.

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Published April 12, 2021 at 5:58 pm (Updated April 12, 2021 at 6:03 pm)

OBA attacks Government over stay-at-home planning

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