Ministry of National Security EMO Update September 21, 2020

Minister Ming EMO Press Conference Statement 21 September

Monday, September 21st, 2020

Good afternoon. Thank you for joining us today for an update on Hurricane Teddy. I am joined by Ms. Kelly Trott of the Disaster Risk Reduction and Mitigation Team.

We also have the Director of the Bermuda Weather Service, Dr. Mark Guishard with us on the call. Dr. Guishard, please give us an update on Hurricane Teddy.

Following this afternoon’s Emergency Measures Organization meeting, I can report:

Public Works structural engineers inspected the Causeway this afternoon and reported that it is structurally sound. The Causeway reopened this afternoon.

Public schools will be open tomorrow.

Updated: The public bus and school bus service is now scheduled to resume normal operations on Tuesday, 22 September.  Ferry service is suspended but will resume operations at 3:00 pm on Tuesday, 22 September.

All government offices will be open tomorrow.

LF Wade International Airport will reopen at 7am tomorrow morning.

BELCO reported that there are two areas where customers are without service. The outages are in Pembroke with 165 customers and Hamilton Parish with 27 customers. BELCO Crews are currently working to restore service.

Garbage collection schedule will be normal for the rest of the week. Garbage scheduled to be collected today will be collected on Saturday. All public waste facilities will reopen tomorrow.

Public Works has identified two locations where there are obstructions in the road. They are South Road, near John Smith’s Bay and Barry Road in St. George’s. The current state of the surf is hampering efforts to clear the roads. Crews will remove the sand and debris as soon as the winds subside. Motorists are urged to use extreme caution in these areas.

If members of the public are aware of other road obstructions, they should contact the EMO operations group at 261 4366. The phone lines will be operational until 7pm tonight.

The Emergency Measures Organization has given the all clear and residents are free to move around the island with caution.

The decision to shut down the island last night and into today was not taken lightly. As with all hurricanes there is a level of unpredictability. That was the case with Hurricane Teddy. The decision taken to shut down the island was necessary to ensure there was no loss of life; this is always the goal under occasions of uncertainty.

Erring on the side of caution and yielding to common sense will always be my mantra.

Many of you would have seen the many pictures and videos circulating showing damage to so many parts of our coastal regions. I ask you to be very careful as the landscape on all of our beaches has changed. Exercise extreme caution when visiting those areas as I know there has been significant damage in many areas.

I have seen the pictures of people playing in the surf. While there is a level of thrill and excitement I must urge everyone to exercise caution. The waves and current are strong and there is the potential for people getting into difficulty. I urge everyone to stay out of the water.

This has been an active hurricane season, but we are smart and resilient people here in Bermuda. Please continue to exercise common sense.

I extend my gratitude to the essential workers of the EMO and other agencies who worked overnight. Many leaving their homes and family members to serve our country.

Thank you and be safe Bermuda.

Ministry of National Security EMO Update September 19 2020

Minister Ming Hurricane Teddy Press Statement

Saturday, September 19th, 2020

 

Today, the Emergency Measures Organisation met to get the latest update on Hurricane Teddy. I am pleased to note that all of our partner agencies have reported that they are ready and prepared . Hurricane Teddy continues to be a threat to Bermuda, but based on the latest forecast, this weather event is expected to be similar to what Bermuda would experience when goes through a winter gale storm. However as we are in hurricane mode, we have made some safety decisions we feel are important in order to protect our community. Following our EMO meeting, here is what I can share at this time.

The Causeway will remain open. The L. F. Wade International Airport will remain open, and the requisite staff will be on hand at the airport to conduct customs and immigration clearance. Additionally the Department of Health team will also be on hand to conduct COVID-19 testing for arriving passengers at the airport. Also the Call Center and the MDL Lab at the Southside testing facility will be open. However the Perot testing facility will be closed.

As it relates to public transportation, the bus service will operate on Sunday, with the last bus being at 9pm. There will be no bus service on Monday. The ferry service will finish at noon tomorrow and resume commuter service on Tuesday, September 22. As it relates to public schools, out of an abundance of caution, all public schools will be closed on Monday, September 21. School staff, including teachers will be expected to work from home.

Principals and custodians will conduct an assessment of schools during the day as instructed by the Commissioner of Education. All other staff are asked to refrain from entering school buildings on Monday to enable any post storm cleanup and works to take place. Public schools will reopen on Tuesday, September 22nd.

All Government buildings will be closed on Monday, reopening on Tuesday. However, Public Officers are expected to work remotely from home on Monday.

The EMO determined that there isn’t a need to open the Government shelter and therefore CedarBridge will not be utilized for this storm.

The EMO Operations group will be on duty at the Hamilton Fire Station from 7.30 am until 7.00 pm on Monday 21 September. If there is anyone who needs to report any storm related damages, they can call 261-4366 or (261-4EMO). This phone will be staffed from 8.00 a.m. – 7.00 p.m. The public should be encouraged to call in if they are in need of assistance with downed trees or power lines so that our road and debris clearance crews can attend.

Following the passage of Hurricane Teddy on Monday morning, our critical work crews from the Department of Parks, the Royal Bermuda Regiment and Ministry of Public Works will do an assessment of the roads and clear any debris. We are asking the public to be mindful of these necessary works and to please if you can, avoid travelling the roads so that our teams can conduct their necessary works.

Finally, to all of our residents – I don’t have to remind you that we’re still in the midst of a pandemic. Please continue to exercise caution and common sense and please remember to engage in the right health and safety activities during this time. The EMO will meet again tomorrow and following that meeting we will provide another public update.

Ministry of Health COVID-19 Update September 18 2020

COVID-19 Update September 18, 2020

September  18, 2020

Today there were 864 test results received by the Ministry of Health, and two were positive for COVID-19. The most recent cases are both among returning residents, one having returned on the British Airways flight on 16 September 2020 and one having returned on the Delta flight from Atlanta on 17 September 2020. Both cases are isolated and contact tracing has begun.

“Bermuda now has 180 total confirmed positive cases. Their status is as follows:

  • there are 7 active cases, who are
  • all under public health monitoring, and
  • none are hospitalized or in critical care;
  • a total of 164 have recovered, and
  • the total deceased remains 9.

“The average age of all of our confirmed positive cases is 57 and the age range of all of our positive cases is from 10 to 101 years.

“The average age of all deceased cases is 74 and the age range is 57 to 91 years.

“The source of all local cases is as follows:

  • 69 are Imported
  • 90 are Local transmission, with known contact
  • 19 are Local transmission with an unknown contact, and
  • 2 are under investigation

“Bermuda’s country status is “Sporadic Cases”. The seven-day average of our real time reproduction number is less than 1.”

Ministry Of Health COVID-19 Update September 17, 2020

COVID-19 Update 17 September

Thursday, September 17th, 2020

Today there were 626 test results received by the Ministry of Health, and none were positive for COVID-19.

Bermuda has had 178 total confirmed positive cases. Their status is as follows:

  • there are 5 active cases, who are
  • all under public health monitoring, and
  • none are hospitalized or in critical care;
  • a total of 164 have recovered,
  • the total deceased remains 9, and

The average age of all of our confirmed positive cases is 57 and the age range of all of our positive cases is from 10 to 101 years.

The average age of all deceased cases is 74 and the age range is 57 to 91 years.

The source of all local cases is as follows:

  • 67 are Imported
  • 90 are Local transmission, with known contact
  • 19 are Local transmission with an unknown contact, and
  • 2 are under investigation

Bermuda’s country status is “Sporadic Cases”. The seven-day average of our real time reproduction number is less than 1.

Ministry of Public Works Amend Trash Collection Dates in Preparation for Hurricane Teddy

Garbage Collection and Waste Disposal Advisory

Wednesday, September 16th, 2020

The Ministry of Public Works advises the public of changes to the garbage collection and waste disposal facilities schedules.

Garbage Collection

  • Thursday’s garbage will be collected on Thursday, 17 September.
  • Friday’s garbage will be collected on Friday, 18 September.
  • Garbage not collected on Monday and Tuesday (Sept 14 & 15) will be collected on Saturday, 19 September.

Waste Disposal Facilities

  • March Folly Compost Facility will be open from 7:30 am to 7:00 pm Wednesday through Saturday.
  • Airport Facility will be open from 7:30 am to 4:00 pm Wednesday through Friday, and from 7:30 am to 12:00 pm on Saturday.
  • Tynes Bay Public Drop Off will operate normally from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm daily, including Sundays.
  • Tynes Bay Commercial Weighbridge will be open from 7:30 am to 4:00 pm Wednesday through Friday, and 7:30am to 2:00pm on Saturday.

Bermuda Government Press Conference COVID-19 Update September 16, 2020

COVID-19 Update Deputy Premier 16 September

Wednesday, September 16th, 2020

Good evening and thank you for coming.

I am sitting in for Premier the Hon. David Burt this evening, because he has a standing engagement on Wednesday evenings that is normally only broken in truly extraordinary circumstances. Today, like every other Wednesday, the Premier is busy as he attends his son’s football training every week. This Government supports youth, family, and fathers being present in their sons’ lives, so the Premier is excused from this duty with our blessings and pride.

I am joined today by the Minister of Health, Hon. Kim Wilson and the Minister of Education, the Hon. Diallo Rabain.

I will now hand over to Minister Wilson who will give a COVID-19 update and speak to other matters related to the Pandemic.

Minister Of Health Statement

Good Afternoon, I hope you all made it through the hurricane with minimal discomfort or damage to your property.

Today there were 818 test results received by the Ministry of Health, and one was positive for COVID-19.

The new positive case is an imported case in a visitor who tested positive on their day 4 test having arrived on BA 2233 on 11 September 2020. The case is isolated and contact tracing has begun.

Bermuda now has 178 total confirmed positive cases. Their status is as follows:

  • 164 have recovered, and
  • there are 5 active cases, who are
  • all under active public health monitoring;
  • none are hospitalized or in critical care, and
  • the total deceased remains at 9.

The average age of all of our confirmed positive cases is 57 and the age range of all of our positive cases is from 10 to 101 years.

Overall, 51% of cases were Black, 40% White and 9% other/unknown.

The source of all local cases is as follows:

  • 67 are Imported
  • 90 are Local transmission, with known contact
  • 19 are Local transmission with an unknown contact, and
  • 2 are under investigation

Bermuda’s country status remains “Sporadic Cases”. The seven-day average of our real time reproduction number is less than 1.

I want to remind residents wishing to travel abroad that a COVID-19 test taken in Bermuda before you travel will NOT count as your pre-departure test for re-entry into Bermuda. Once you leave Bermuda and enter a jurisdiction with community transmission of COVID-19, you are at risk of being exposed. The pre-departure test needs to be taken in the overseas jurisdiction in which you have visited, prior to returning to Bermuda. Residents who do not take the pre-departure test before returning home will be required to quarantine for eight days.

I would now like to commend my Ministry of Health team for successful management of the COVID testing programme following Hurricane Paulette. This involved significant logistical reorganization of testing and communication with travellers to advise them of their new testing times, as COVID-19 testing was, of course, cancelled on Monday.

Yesterday, following the departure of Hurricane Paulette from the area, Perot Testing facility opened at 10am to recommence COVID-19 testing for travelers. Also, the Heron Bay testing site was prepared to function as normal today per the original schedule.

Additionally, the hotline was back up and running yesterday to answer queries, assist with Travel Authorization processing and provide the same resilient support they have been over these difficult past few months.

I should note that if travelers are unable to receive emails at this time, they can contact the call centre at 444-2498 and they will be provided with their revised scheduled time for testing.

With Hurricane Teddy tracking towards Bermuda, it is important for travelers to be aware that further testing times and locations may change as the storm gets closer to our shores. People scheduled for traveler testing and pop-up testing may need to be rescheduled so it’s important for those individuals to check their emails and stay abreast of the latest developments. Those travelers due for testing that are under quarantine and will be affected by the closures should remain quarantined and should not take it upon themselves to attend a testing site and date of their choosing.

Re-opening of testing sites and Government’s lab following the storm will be communicated via press conference or press release and posted on the Government portal and social media channels as soon as possible.

Once again, the Ministry of Health is reminding residents that all restaurant patrons must wear a mask at all times when not seated at their table. This includes entering the premises and exiting, as well as when using the restroom. The wearing of masks in these instances is compulsory and dining establishments are required to enforce these rules.

I would also like to remind members of the public to please provide your contact details at the businesses you visit such as bars, restaurants, gyms, salons, theatres and recreational charter boats in case the Ministry of Health needs to contact you about a possible COVID-19 exposure. For more information about contact tracing or anything related to COVID-19 please go to coronavirus.gov.bm

I end by reminding us all to avoid the 3 Cs: closed spaces, crowded spaces and close-contact settings.

Stay safe, Bermuda, and Thank You.

Thanks you Minster Wilson, your team has done extraordinary work getting our testing back up and running so quickly, they are to be commended.

Now Minister Rabain will review the plans for the reopening of schools tomorrow.

Minister of Education

All public pre, primary, middle and senior schools, in addition to DAME and Success Academy will be open for our students tomorrow, Thursday, September 16th, 2020.

All students are to report to school in uniform, at 8:30 am, ready to participate in the entry screening, which involves taking temperatures and responding to four COVID-19 questions.

Yesterday, staff from the Department of Education’s Facilities section, staff from the Ministry of Public Works Estates section, as well as school principals and custodians, carried out assessments of school buildings post-Hurricane Paulette.  I am pleased to report that our school buildings fared the Hurricane well. There was power loss, water seepage at some schools and debris was found on the school grounds, but all in all, there was no significant damage to our school buildings.  Also, some schools still need to have the grass cut, debris removed, but this will not impact tomorrow’s opening of schools.

In a combined effort which started yesterday and which continues today, staff from Agriculture and Parks; Public Works; and school custodians are working to address these issues created by Hurricane Paulette, so that our schools are ready to receive our children tomorrow.

I am making this one request of commuters in the morning and afternoon, and that is to use patience and caution in our school zones.  Schools will be fully operational, and there will be congestion in the areas. I am encouraging the public to use extra care in these areas, especially since we have implemented new safety and health entry procedures at all public schools across the island.  The public needs to be aware that ALL schools:…pre, primary, middle and senior, will open at 8:30 am.  We are advising additional caution in the areas that have two schools.

One such an example is Northlands Primary School and the Berkeley Institute.  Commuters are advised that there is likely to be a a high volume of traffic on Berkeley Road in Pembroke between the hours of 8:00 and 9:15 am on weekdays.

Parents have also been asking about the bus schedule; it is being continuously updated and can be viewed at www.gov.bm/bus. 

I want to take this time to thank our Facilities staff, the Custodians and those from the Ministry of Works. They worked incredibly hard pre-hurricane to ensure our schools didn’t suffer any significant damage.  They have also worked very hard and under tremendous pressure, post-hurricane to have our schools repaired and cleaned to be ready to accept our students tomorrow.

I would also like to thank our Educators who have also done the hard work necessary to prepare for the students to return.  I am sure they have missed their students as much as the students have missed them.

In closing, I wish all staff and students a very safe and successful start for the school year. Thank You

Thank you both.

The work done by all of the persons who assisted all of our schools, 37 properties is total, to get back up and running is a testament to the dedicated public servants. Well done.

We received an update from BELCO at 5pm today. There are currently 702 customers without service. They are in:

Sandys – 23

Southampton – 127

Warwick – 57

Pembroke – 144

Devonshire – 129

Smith’s – 14

Hamilton – 25

St. George’s – 5

BELCO will continue to provide updates on their website as they work to get everyone back online.

As another note, earlier today on twitter the Premier did issue an apology to commuters who were affected by the bus service not operating today. The Ministry of Transport has confirmed that the bus service will run tomorrow.

The modifications to our schools, the implementation of innovative policies, procedures, and regulations have proved to be resilient and agile enough to ensure the safe reopening schools tomorrow, and fair enough to hold a General Election.

As a result of Hurricane Paulette’s extended impact on our Country, to ensure as many Bermudians vote as possible, and to preserve and defend our robust democracy, the Parliamentary Registrar has extended the Advanced Poll for seniors, travellers, incapacitated voters by one day.

To be clear, voters who are voting in the Advanced Poll can vote today (Wednesday 16thSeptember), Thursday, Friday, and now also on Saturday; at any time between the hours of 8:00am and 8:00pm.

I would like to advise those who are voting between today and Friday, which Polling Stations are correct:

Voters in Constituencies 1-9,                                      Midland Heights 7th Day Adventist Church, Hamilton Parish

Voters in Constituencies 10-18                                   The Pavilion at National Sports Stadium

Voters in Constituencies 19-27                                   St. Paul AME Church Centennial Hall

Voters in Constituencies 28-36                                   St. Mary’s Church Hall, Warwick (opposite the Rubber Tree)

Voters who vote in Constituencies 19-27 need to be aware that there has been a change in your Polling Station for the Advanced Poll. Originally you would have voted at Horticultural Hall in Botanical Gardens, however for ease of access and other logistics, voters will now vote at St. Paul’s AME Church Centennial Hall in Hamilton; the best entrance is from Court Street.

There are two Advanced Poll Polling Stations for voters who wish to vote on Saturday September 19.

If you live in Constituencies 1-18, you will vote at the Bermuda College Cafeteria; if you live in Constituencies 19-36, you will vote at St. Mary’s Anglican Church Hall on Middle Road in Warwick.

While we are logistically prepared for the General Election, and we have faced and overcome the challenges of Hurricane Paulette, we must ensure our COVID-19 protocols are maintained and followed during voting.

Accordingly, voters who attend Polling Stations, whether voting in the Advanced Poll or in the General Election on 1 October, must adhere to the following regulations and protocols:

  • Every person must adhere to physical distancing from the moment they enter the property, including parking lots;
  • Every person must wear a mask and keep it on from the time they enter onto the property, while queuing, while voting, and until they are back onto or inside their vehicle;
  • Whether outside or inside the Polling Station shaking hands, fist bumps, hugging, or elbow bumps are strictly prohibited;
  • Every person will be asked to sanitise hands using the sanitizer that is provided.

The Pandemic has affected many Bermudians, and though our handling of the pandemic has enabled a large amount of Bermudians to return to work there are still many in our community who still require support. The Government created the supplemental unemployment benefit to provide ongoing assistance to Bermudians and families who need ongoing support and health insurance following the expiration of the COVID-19 Emergency Unemployment Fund. The Minster of Labour has informed me that payments will be made for the supplementary unemployment benefit before the end of this week. I know this will be welcome news for many families, and I encourage those who need assistance to contact the department of Financial Assistance to apply for the supplementary benefit.

There is assistance available in case you need it, but it is up to you to apply.

There is another matter that concerned a number of Bermudians that I also wish to address. These are the most uncertain times we have faced as a people, and we are deeply aware of the impact on a person’s mental wellbeing when their finances, home, and food are threatened, or appear to be threatened. Accordingly, I wish to provide clarity over the recent confusion surrounding the administration and disbursement of pension payments.

Ordinarily payments that are paid out by a Government cheque are delivered in the mail on 15th of each month; however during this month, Government was closed on the 14th and most of the 15th, meaning cheques were not delivered in the mail as usual; those cheques will be delivered tomorrow 17September, by mail. There has been a delay through no fault of recipients, and we are apologetic for any concerns the delay caused.

I should advise that persons who receive pension benefits online, were paid on time on the 15th September.

For the sake of completeness, I should also state and add that each month there are 14,632 pension benefit payments made; but only 170 are paid by cheque.

While I am aware that some people may have concerns about internet banking technology, the Ministry of Finance strongly urges those who are paid by cheque to obtain online banking to avoid any possibility of further delays.

I just received an update on buses from the Minister of Transport. The Department of Public Transportation (DPT) can confirm that the public bus service will resume normal operations starting Thursday, September 17th 2020.

In addition, the school bus service will start on Thursday, September 17th 2020. As a reminder, the 2020 School Bus Schedule has been updated and can be found at www.gov.bm/bus.

DPT has extended the use of minibuses to ensure a reliable school bus service for the 2020/21 academic year, with DPT buses also available to supplement the school bus service where required.

As previously outlined, COVID-19 mitigation protocols remain in effect for the public bus service and will be implemented for the school bus service.

Following these guidelines will help to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all passengers and staff, which remains the top priority for the Department of Public Transportation.

As I conclude my remarks, I will add my thanks and appreciation to all who are away from their families and continue to serve Bermuda during difficult times. Those essential workers who are in the Royal Bermuda Regiment, the hospital and seniors homes staff, members of the Emergency Measures Organization, government public officers, the Bermuda Police Service, Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service and others who are not visible but continue to work when many of us are at home.

On behalf of everyone in Bermuda I say thank you.

As we all are watching the weather and closely following the path of Hurricane Teddy, I urge everyone to start preparing now. Make a list of needed supplies, check on family members and neighbours especially the elderly. We have the time now to prepare.

Thank you and I will now take questions from the media.

Ministry of Health September 12th Press Release

COVID-19 Update – 12 September

Saturday, September 12th, 2020

Today there were 893 test results received by the Ministry of Health, and none were positive for COVID-19.

Bermuda has 177 total confirmed positive cases. Their status is as follows:

§  there are now 6 active cases, who are

§  all under active public health monitoring, and

§  none are hospitalized or in critical care;

§  a total of 162 have recovered,

§  the total deceased remains 9, and

The average age of all of our confirmed positive cases is 57 and the age range of all of our positive cases is from 10 to 101 years.

The average age of all deceased cases is 74 and the age range is 57 to 91 years.

The source of all local cases is as follows:

§  66 are Imported

§  90 are Local transmission, with known contact

§  19 are Local transmission with an unknown contact, and

§  2 are under investigation

Bermuda’s country status is “Sporadic Cases”. The seven-day average of our real time reproduction number is less than 1.

Bermuda Government Emergency Shelter and Medical Centres

Emergency shelters and medical centres

In the event of an emergency, you might be advised to leave a particular area on the island. The Emergency Measures Organisation (EMO) makes the decision after consulting with committee members and weather officials.

If the EMO feels an area is at high risk, it will publicly notify you through the media.

The Emergency Shelters identified for use by the public will be announced in the Emergency Broadcast Station, FM 100.1 MHz once they have been arranged. If you need to evacuate your home, take your pre-assembled emergency supplies with you to the nearest Emergency Shelters.

What if I am a visitor on the island during an emergency?

Evacuation is voluntary and seats on flights are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

If you are unable to get a flight, you may wish to stay at your hotel to ride out the storm.

For more information please call the Bermuda Tourism Authority at (441) 296 9200.

Hurricane Shelters

There is one approved pre-hurricane shelter:

Cedarbridge Academy
Cedarbridge Academy Gymnasium
1 Cedarbridge Lane
Prospect DV 02

There are other school and church sites that may be used as Emergency Shelters in the case of a disaster. The EMO will determine which sites will be opened based on the specific circumstances of the disaster. A management team of trained public officers and volunteers are in charge of the shelters.

Emergency Medical Centres

There are two emergency medical centres:

  • King Edward VII Hospital (441) 239 2009
  • Urgent Care Centre (441) 298 7700

In emergencies where the Causeway Bridge is closed, medical coverage for the East End community will be carried out by the Lamb Foggo, Urgent Care Centre located at 1, Hall Street, Southside, St Georges, (between the Police Station and the building that used to house White’s Supermarket).  The hours of operation are Monday to Friday 4pm to midnight, Saturday and Sunday 12 noon to midnight.  During severe weather, these hours might be extended.

What to Take to the Emergency Shelter

Shelters usually open their doors to the public during the warning stage of the hurricane.

Do take:

  • 3-4 days supply of food that does not need cooking;
  • Can opener;
  • 3-4 days supply of water (one gallon per day per person);
  • First aid kit that includes prescription medications;
  • Special needs items for infants (formula, bottles, diapers);
  • Special needs items for elderly or disabled family members;
  • Bedding (sleeping bags, pillows);
  • Battery-powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries;
  • Change of clothes;
  • Extra set of car keys, credit cards, cash;
  • Passports and important family papers;
  • Reading materials and quiet games to help pass time and keep children occupied;
  • Car charger for your cell phone.

Do not take:

  • Pets;
  • Cigarettes, other tobacco products or illegal drugs;
  • Alcohol;
  • Weapons;
  • Cooking equipment;
  • Furniture.

Cots and air mattresses may not be allowed because of limited space.

EMO Press Conference September 12, 2020

Bermuda Government EMO Press Conference

Good afternoon all:

Our last weather update indicates that Paulette is a strong tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of 60 knots and higher gusts, located at 3PM about 440 nautical miles to the east southeast of Bermuda.

Paulette is expected to reach hurricane strength tonight, and continue its movement towards Bermuda.

Currently, predictions have Paulette’s centre moving through the local area on Monday morning. If the forecast holds true, we can anticipate a direct hit by a Category 2 hurricane at that time.  Accordingly, Bermuda is now under a Hurricane Warning.

The public will need to prepare for a long duration of tropical storm force winds beginning late Sunday afternoon and then ramping up to hurricane strength by the early hours of Monday morning.

The hurricane conditions should last up to 9 hours.

The worst conditions are anticipated for the timing of the closest point of approach, which is forecast to be less than 25 miles from the island at 8AM on Monday morning.

A significant surge of potentially greater than 3 feet above normal sea level is likely to have an impact, given that the increase of hurricane winds will be coincident with the rising tide on Monday morning.

This is also because we already have sea levels that are up to about a half a foot / 15 cm higher than normal, due to localized oceanographic conditions.

As those who have experienced hurricanes before can attest, a small change in the track forecast can make a big difference for the expected conditions.

So, BWS will continue to monitor this forecast closely and update the public with increasing frequency until the storm passes.

Now that we are under a Hurricane Warning, official updates from the US National Hurricane Center and the Bermuda Weather Service will be made at least every three (3) hours.

A US Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter Aircraft has been tasked to conduct reconnaissance on this storm tonight and BWS will continue feeding data to NHC throughout the storm’s passage.

Following today’s EMO Meeting, here are some critical decisions which we wish to advise the public of.

As it relates to Government services, please note the following:

Schools will be closed Monday and Tuesday. The Ministry of Education will be sharing updates with parents and teachers regarding any updates.

As a note, on Tuesday all schools will be assessed for any damage or major utility outages and following that assessment a determination will be made regarding the reopening of schools.

The L.F. Wade International Airport will close tomorrow, Sunday evening at 6.00 p.m. and reopen on Tuesday September 15th at 12noon.

The Causeway will close tomorrow, Sunday at 9.00 p.m. and following an assessment once the storm has passed, a determination will be made regarding its reopening.

For those in the East End, the Lamb Foggo Clinic will be operational if persons require medical assistance.

All Government buildings will be closed on Monday and Tuesday.

However, where possible, Public Officers should continue working remotely on Tuesday, utilizing the remote working facilities put in place in response to the pandemic, circumstances permitting, of course.

Buses will cease operation at 7.00 p.m. Sunday evening.

Regarding the Ferry Service:

  • The blue route Hamilton to Dockyard will be suspended from 10am Sunday
  • The pink route Hamilton harbor ferry will be suspended from 12 noon Sunday.
  • It is anticipated that ferry service will return on Wednesday, September 16th subject to a full assessment.

The Government Shelter at CedarBridge will be open as 3.00 p.m. tomorrow.

Any individuals who require the shelter can make their way there as of 3pm on Sunday.

Also, regarding trash, the Tynes Bay Public drop will close at 5.00 p.m. Sunday evening. For those whose trash day is Monday – PLEASE do not put your trash out for collection on Monday or Tuesday.

If you need to drop your trash you can do so until 5.00 p.m. tomorrow at Tynes Bay.

As a note, our EMO Operations Group will be located at the Hamilton Fire Station and anyone who needs to report any storm related damages can call 261-4366 or (261-4EMO).

The Police, Regiment, Fire Service, Parks Department and Works & Engineering have mobilized their services and equipment to aid in emergency situations.

The Emergency Broadcast Station – 100.1fm will be operational as of 7.00 p.m. tomorrow, Sunday. It will be sharing key information and updates on the half hour.

Regarding the COVID – 19 testing:

  • Southside will be open on Sunday as per normal.
  • There will be no testing at Perot on Monday.
  • An assessment will be completed Monday to determine when or if it will open on Tuesday.
  • An assessment will be completed on Monday to determine when or if Southside will be open Tuesday.
  • The Call Centre will close on Sunday, 13th September at 3:00pm and be closed on Monday.  An announcement will follow if it will reopen on Tuesday.
  • Those travelers due for testing that will be affected by the closures should not make their own appointments. Appointments will be rescheduled and sent to the travelers by the Ministry of Health after the assessments completed on Monday.

Lastly, regarding Advanced Polling, there will be no Advanced Polls on Monday or Tuesday. Following an assessment of the polling stations, the Parliamentary Registry Office will update when the resumption of Advance Polling will be.

Bermuda, our weather experts indicate that this will be a sustained storm with serious winds, so we are asking people to ensure that their preparations are completed by tonight.

And for public safety reasons we are urging people to be off the roads by 7.00 pm. Sunday evening.

For those individuals who are in low lying coastal areas please note that we are expecting considerable storm surge associated with this storm, so we are urging you to take the necessary safety precautions to protect you and your homes.

To all of our residents, please remember as I have said – we are in the midst of a pandemic. Please remember to exercise caution and common sense. Please remember to engage in the right health and safety activities during this storm.

The EMO will meet again tomorrow and soon after its conclusion, we will provide another public update.

Thank you.

Ministry of National Security Press Conference September 11 2020

Government Press Conference Re Tropical Storm Paulette

 

Earlier today, we convened an Emergency Measures Organisation meeting to get the latest updates regarding Tropical Storm Paulette.

Tropical Storm Paulette is expected to intensify into a hurricane and it poses a threat to Bermuda. As of this afternoon the Bermuda Weather Service indicated that Tropical Storm Paulette is currently over 800 nautical miles away to the east-southeast of Bermuda. It is expected to come within 100 nautical miles within the next 72 hours. The Bermuda Weather Service now expects Paulette’s closest approach on Monday. Over the weekend, Bermuda can expect to experience a progressed intensification of the storm and it is expected to increase to hurricane strength by late Sunday.

In light of this, I want to issue some critical reminders to the community, particularly as it relates to public safety and storm preparedness. As we have all seen, this 2020 Hurricane Season has been particularly active. And now, we’re facing the impact of a severe storm. I am urging the public to take the remainder of today and the weekend to ensure that their storm preparations are complete. An important point to remember is that we are still in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic and we need to ensure that we take extra precautions.

Yes, residents should make sure they have the basic supplies in their hurricane kits. This includes your typical non-perishable food supplies and water and an extra supplies of key medicines. Also make sure you have fresh batteries and smartphone battery packs, flashlights and any other key items to aid in an emergency. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, residents should add personal protective equipment or PPE to their hurricane kits. This includes, face masks or face coverings and hand sanitizer. There should be enough PPE to last for at least seven (7) days for each member of your household. This weekend you should be finalizing any routine clean up or repair activities around your homes, as well as ensuring that your marine vessels are secure.

We are anticipating that Paulette will cause some challenges for those living in low lying coastal areas, so we are urging these residents to take the necessary safety precautions.

As we all know, our public schools are set to resume on Monday. However any decisions regarding the closure of schools, suspension of public transport, closure of government offices or the curtailing of other government services due to the storm will be shared following our EMO meeting tomorrow afternoon.

The public will be properly advised of any major decisions that affect them. Additionally the Bermuda Police Service, the Royal Bermuda Regiment, the Parks Department and the Ministry of Public Works are mobilizing their resources in the east, west and central areas of the island to ensure safety and security. Following our EMO meeting tomorrow, we will also be able to provide more information regarding the Government Shelter at CedarBridge.

As an added note, the Ministry of Health will also provide an update regarding its COVID-19 testing should it be affected by the impending storm. Lastly, before I turn it over to the National Disaster Coordinator who will provide you with a general update on the new location for our Hurricane Operations Centre as well as any other operational matters, I wish to stress to the community to please exercise good judgment and common sense regarding this storm.

Please exercise physical distancing when you are shopping for your supplies or if you intend to ride out the storm with others. Please take steps to protect your families. And above all, please check on your neighbors, our seniors, and our vulnerable persons. Bermuda, we have been through serious storms before, and we have weathered them by coming together as a community. So, let’s continue to look out for one another as we weather Paulette. As I indicated we will hold our next briefing late tomorrow afternoon, following our EMO meeting at 1.00 p.m.

We will also provide updates on the Emergency Broadcast Station 100.1 FM which will be broadcasting prior to the onset of the storm with key emergency information on the half hour.