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OBA calls for overly strict testing to be reduced

Cole Simons, Opposition Leader (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Shortly before the Government said most social distancing requirements would end on Sunday, the One Bermuda Alliance called for an end to overly strict regulations against Covid-19.

The Opposition said tourists were “hesitant to visit Bermuda” because of restrictions, particularly for vaccinated travellers.

Cole Simons, the One Bermuda Alliance leader said in a statement released before the Government’s Covid press conference today: “The Government can no longer ignore the voice of the people.

“They are frustrated, they are confused over the regulations and the Government has to do better and communicate clearly with the people of Bermuda.”

Mr Simons said the onus was on the Government to “deliver more than speculative promises”.

The OBA called for the removal of the 14-day requirement for unvaccinated travellers to stay in quarantine at their own expense, expected to go into effect later this month after being twice delayed.

The Opposition leader said the number of times visitors had to get tested for the coronavirus during their stay should be reduced.

At present, tests are required on arrival, day four, day eight and day 14, including fully immunised travellers.

Mr Simons said vaccinated visitors should only be required to show a negative pre-departure test, and get tested on arrival at LF Wade International Airport.

He called for the end of the curfew, saying it “does not serve any purpose”.

Mr Simons said exemptions for gathering should continue, with events limited to outdoor venues, guest lists submitted for contact tracing, and the SafeKey code required.

He added: “The 14-day quarantine is one of the major factors causing frustration and anxiety to the people of Bermuda.

“The vast majority of people in Bermuda follow the rules so we should respect their freedom and trust them to go about their everyday lives.

“If people are on the 14-day quarantine at home, they need to be monitored closely to make sure they are following the order.

“If that person breaks the quarantine, that is when tighter rules should be enforced.”

Mr Simons said the restrictions on raft-ups should be dropped ahead of the upcoming National Heroes Day holiday weekend, popular for boating.

“This restriction simply does not make sense,” he said.

“Currently, only ten people are allowed per boat. They can still gather in the water.”

He said the restriction should no longer apply if 50 people were permitted at a gathering onshore.

“The people of Bermuda deserve clarity and the time has come for us as a country to get back to business.”

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Published June 16, 2021 at 7:53 am (Updated June 16, 2021 at 7:53 am)

OBA calls for overly strict testing to be reduced

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