With a spike in COVID-19 cases in Bermuda over the last week, the government there has reintroduced nightly curfews and imposed more restrictions.
Over the last six days, the tiny Caribbean island has recorded 86 new cases of the coronavirus, forcing the government to re-impose nightly curfew. Premier David Burt, who made the announcement told the House of Assembly, said that the curfew would run from 11.00 pm to 5.00 am from Saturday gone until next Wednesday, December 22.
The Bermuda Premier told legislators on Friday that businesses must close at 10:00 pm and the maximum size of gatherings would be reduced to 10. There will be restrictions to gyms and care homes.
The restrictions, which were approved at a Cabinet meeting earlier last week, will be reviewed on December 22. In making the announcement, Burt declared that gyms must operate at reduced capacity and personal services such as barbers and spas cannot provide any services that require a mask to be removed.
New wave of infections on the horizon
Burt told parliament the new wave of infections is on the horizon, being driven by younger people with more than half of the latest cases under the age of 30.
According to the premier, “I don’t think that we want to get back to that place and I’m going to put it on the people of this country, who have been through a lot this year, for us not to get back to that place.”
Bermuda has seven clusters of cases of the virus, up from two, but has not moved to community spread. For his part, Health Minister, Kim Wilson announced care home restrictions because of the spike in cases.
He declared that visitors to care homes would have to remain outside “unless deemed essential.” Visitors will have to talk to care home residents through a window or door.
The Health Minister appealed to the population not to take up coronavirus test spots needed for more urgent cases, as the island recorded 113 new infections over the last seven days. She gave an example, a husband and wife having booked six tests each.
“The numbers will get worse before they get better. It is therefore essential that we implement further actions now to avoid possible harsher actions later,” the Health Minister explained. Residents, who travel back to Bermuda without having a pre-test will now be charged US$300 instead of US$30 with the premier noting that 1,800 tests had been administered on Thursday, smashing any previous record.
He gave a word of advice that people should work from home if possible.
State benefits for unemployed because of COVID-19
The online benefits application form for people who have lost their job because of COVID-19 is now available. Eligible individuals can file their applications filed as of 5:00 pm today and should receive their US$1,000 payment next Wednesday.
The aid will go to full-time employees of bars and nightclubs, which have had to close because of restrictions. Businesses can also seek instructions on how to apply on behalf of their employees.
Other benefits were announced for workers that have been placed in mandatory quarantine by the Ministry of Health and are unable to earn their ordinary pay. These individuals will qualify for biweekly aid from December 18.
The payout will be 60 percent of normal pay, to a maximum of US$500 per week.