Government unveils sweeping easing of Covid restrictions – The Royal Gazette
Updated: November 26, 2021 4:31 PM
A drastic easing of Covid restrictions was unveiled by the government this morning.
The move came as the UK banned flights from South Africa and five neighboring countries as a new variant of the disease – dubbed ‘the worst ever’ – was identified and a number of EU countries continued to impose tough new rules.
However, David Burt, the Prime Minister, insisted that he did not believe Bermuda was going in the wrong direction in easing pandemic restrictions, but in “striking the right balance”.
The changes, which come into effect Monday, mean that the size of large groups allowed to assemble will increase from 30 to 50.
This will include weddings and funerals, as well as island boats when it comes to using SafeKey.
Tables in restaurants, member clubs and bars will no longer need to be spaced 6 feet apart, however, at this time, these establishments will still be limited to seated service only.
Raft-ups are permitted and cinemas, galleries and museums must be allowed a physical distance of 3 feet with masks worn at all times indoors.
Students enrolled in a school testing program will be able to use a “7 Day Student Pass” (issued after a negative test result) to dine indoors with their parents or guardians who have SafeKeys and participate in sports and recreational activities to young people requiring a SafeKey. .
Kim Wilson, Minister of Health, also announced that the island’s travel protocols are under review.
She said: “We are looking at changing our requirements to make sure we are competitive.
“We will change the pre-arrival testing requirement to accept antigen testing, which is cheaper and easier to acquire for travelers to Bermuda, as well as PCR testing.
“We also look at the follow-up tests once on the island.
“The changes are intended to allow vaccinated visitors to start enjoying Bermuda quickly without a long period of quarantine upon arrival.
“Finally, we are making adjustments to allow residents who travel overseas for less than 72 hours to use their pre-departure test obtained in Bermuda as a pre-arrival test upon their return. This will facilitate quick trips abroad.
When asked if he was concerned about the timing of the easing as some other countries tighten their restrictions, the prime minister said at a press conference: “I’m not necessarily worried we’re going in the wrong direction.
“We think we are finding the right balance, but it is vital from a tourism point of view that we move forward and adapt.”
Ms Wilson added: “Success in managing Covid-19 requires a community effort.
“It’s a community effort because it’s one of the few situations where an individual’s decision to adhere to public health measures – or not – impacts us all.
“The vaccines work. Our island data proves it. The next step for all of us in Bermuda is learning to live with Covid-19. “
In terms of work, the government no longer strongly recommends working from home.
However, the minister said the masks should be worn in the workplace, by people using public transport or taxis and by anyone visiting covered establishments such as a grocery store, store, bank or office. office.
These rules apply unless otherwise specified in specific guidelines such as those that apply in bars, restaurants and gyms and in crowded outdoor environments where other people are present and a distance of 6 feet cannot. be maintained.
Ms Wilson said: “We will be working with schools to implement the 7-day student pass starting next week.
“Additional public health guidelines will be amended to state that remote working is no longer strongly recommended. Offices can be opened with appropriate public health measures in place.
“As we attend the Christmas holidays in the coming weeks, please be aware that social mix is identified, through contact tracing surveys, as the primary means by which transmission of Covid-19 occurs.
“Social diversity can lead to less strict adherence to public health protocols, so I strongly encourage everyone to be careful and responsible.”