Bermuda is implementing Shelter in Place measures which are scheduled to begin at 6am on April 4 and end on April 18.
The measures mean only essential businesses will be permitted to remain open. That includes food producers, such as farmers, fishermen, and those persons who raise and herd livestock. Food wholesalers and retail grocery stores will remain open, as well as doctors’ offices and medical facilities, pharmacies and gas stations. Ports and utility companies like gas and water will be available for emergency services.
Given that these services will remain open, Burt urged Bermudians not to start panic buying in response to the measures.
Banks will be open for restricted hours to provide only the most essential services but all face to face interactions between bank customers and bank employees will be suspended for the two week period. Bank office operations include the servicing of ATM machines and the processing of wire payments, among other things such as online banking will continue.
David Burt, Bermuda’s Premier, acknowledged these measures will have consequences for Bermuda’s economy and the lives of its citizens, but said it was worth doing to protect the island’s healthcare system.
“The decision to move to Shelter in Place was not taken lightly,” said Burt. “We looked at the number of confirmed cases in Bermuda. We listened to the guidance from the chief medical officer, who was closest to the situation. With COVID-19, there is uncertainty and decision-making is tough, and will always be second guessed, and will always be questioned.”
Burt said Shelter in Place will restrict the movement of people to ensure Bermuda’s healthcare system is ready for any future surge in patients. He confirmed people will be allowed to exercise outside their home within a reasonable distance, with no more than groups of two, for restricted times.
Burt confirmed no commercial air carrier plans to provide a regular service to Bermuda until at least May 1.
Meanwhile, Bermuda received results from eight COVID-19 tests on April 1, none of which were returned positive, meaning Bermuda’s total number of confirmed cases remains at 32.
Two of the three cases that were being investigated have been traced, with the contagion being confirmed to have come from close contacts, with the third remaining under investigation. It means there is still no confirmed “community transmission” of COVID-19 in Bermuda.
As at April 1 Bermuda had conducted a total of 236 tests, with 171 negative results and 33 still pending.
COVID-19, David Burt, Shelter in Place