Minister of National Security: Holiday Weekend
Today I am joined by Assistant Police Commissioner Martin Weekes.
Bermuda, this holiday weekend is significant for several reasons. For one, Good Friday and Easter Sunday are considered the most important dates on the Christian calendar. And from a cultural standpoint, this holiday weekend is one of the most iconic for Bermudians.
Good Friday is steeped in tradition for us, with kite flying, hot cross buns and fish cakes. Typically, this is a time when we gather with our friends and families to celebrate our rich and unique heritage. But this year, once again, we won’t be able to gather in the normal ways that we are used to.
Instead, we must do it against the backdrop of a dangerous and fast spreading pandemic. This holiday weekend, while we must be mindful of adhering to the safety and health guidelines that are currently in place, it’s heartening to know that we will be able to engage in some of the traditional Good Friday and Easter activities – albeit in a limited capacity. But any gatherings must be done responsibly. They must be physically distanced, without the mixing of households and in small family and/or friend bubbles. So the aim of today’s briefing is to once again remind the public about the COVID-19 regulations that are in place and to share any relevant information regarding the Police’s enforcement efforts this weekend.
Additionally, since our last update, the Ministry of National Security, the Ministry of Health, the Bermuda Police Service and the Department of Public Prosecutions have made significant steps to bring those who violate the Public Health Act before the courts. We have also made some progress in terms of strengthening the enforcement powers and legislation with regard to fixed penalties, which the Assistant Commissioner of Police will speak to momentarily. But in order to ensure that everyone is engaging in responsible behaviour, I will set out a few timely reminders for the public as we continue to navigate this serious pandemic.
- First and foremost, we remain under curfew: 11 pm – 5 am
- Remote working is mandatory where and when possible.
- An 8.00 p.m. curfew for recreational boating remains in effect.
- Indoor dining is prohibited except for hotels, which are limited to hotel guests only.
- Large groups are set at a maximum of ten people per gathering. This includes inside private homes.
- An exception to this is for outside religious ceremonies where a maximum of 20 people can gather. I repeat this is for outside services only.
- Bars and clubs are only permitted to have outside table service only. Table size is restricted to six persons. Indoor dining and drinking in restaurants is closed.
- Beauty salons, spas and barber shops can be open. But all clients and staff must wear a mask that completely covers their mouth and nose at all times.
- Retail and grocery stores are limited to 20% of their occupancy capacity at any one time.
- Schools, the Bermuda College and youth camps are closed to students.
- Religious establishments are closed to congregants with the following exceptions:
- Private prayer with a maximum of five persons.
- In order to broadcast a service via electronic means where the total number of persons are restricted to ten people.
- Indoor funerals and viewings are permitted with a maximum of ten mourners, plus the officiant and funeral home staff.
- And the following venues are closed:
• Bowling alleys
• Concert halls
• Church halls
• Auditoriums and theaters
• The indoor areas of gyms and sports clubs.
We have received numerous questions about large groups. Here is what I can advise. Currently applications for a large group exemption can be made via gov.bm. To receive a timely response, 20 days advance should be allowed, unless there are exceptional circumstances, such as a funeral.
Finally, as I have repeatedly said, now is not the time to become complacent. As a country we have demonstrated discipline and leadership in navigating this pandemic, and we must continue our vigilance. Please exercise a degree of personal responsibility by making smart and sensible decisions to protect you, your family, your friends and your loved ones.
As a reminder, we all must continue to do what we can to mitigate and limit the spread of the virus by complying with the policies in place. Please continue to follow the health guidelines – this includes wearing a mask, hand sanitizing and maintaining the appropriate physical distancing.
And finally, if you are in attendance at any establishment or location around the island and see any breaches of the COVID-19 regulations by persons or businesses – please do not hesitate to call 2-11 to report the violations. I will now turn it over to the Assistant Police Commissioner who will highlight some of the steps that the Bermuda Police Service have taken and continue to take to enforce the COVID-19 regulations.