Wednesday 15 July, 2020

Premier Burt responds to petition asking for delayed airport reopening

Premier David Burt

Premier David Burt

“The Government’s goal has always been to contain and minimise the impact of the virus, which we have done.”

Premier David Burt in response to a petition asking the government to reverse its decision to open Bermuda’s borders to commercial travellers.

Responding to concerns raised, he said they can’t allow the economic impact on the country to be worse than the disease itself.

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“In the last three months, the government has implemented stringent public health guidelines and taken a phased approach to safely opening our economy. This is the next step in a careful and deliberate process. We know public health measures work. Physical distancing, wearing a mask and washing hands frequently together with enhanced sanitisation processes work. The other key to our success has been extensive testing. In the last few weeks, we have put in place pop-up testing locations so everyone can get tested.”

Premier Burt said reopening the airport to allow visitors on-island is now critical, as it’ll allow hundreds of hospitality workers to return to work.

He said: “Visitors are strongly encouraged to get tested three to five days before they come to Bermuda. If their testing results are delayed, they will have the option to come to Bermuda, but they will be tested upon arrival and then tested again on day three of their visit. During those three days, the visitor will be required to quarantine in the room at their accommodation. If the pre-departure test result arrives during the 3-day quarantine it will be counted as a valid pre-departure test and the visitor will be released from quarantine.”

The Premier said visitors are required to complete an electronic pre-boarding form before they’re allowed to travel to Bermuda.

Visitors must also show that they’re able to cover all medical costs should they get sick while on-island.

“If a visitor becomes ill while in Bermuda, they will be required to isolate for a minimum of 14 days at their own expense or until they can leave the island by private jet or yacht.”

According to the petition, Bermuda has done a great job of keeping the pandemic under control, but reopening the borders to COVID-19 hotspots could set the country back, leading to widespread sickness.

“We understand and sympathise with the hardships in our tourism sector, but we must look at the bigger picture at stake. If our cases rise and we return to phase one our entire economy will be worse off. Another lockdown will prolong small business suffrage and keep many of us at home instead of back to work. We love our American neighbours and will welcome them back in due time but right now we need to be sensible and delay. We are asking Premier David Burt to delay all flights from the U.S. until they are able to get their cases on a downward trend. We care about the elderly. We care about the sick and immunocompromised. We care about our little island Bermuda and its people. We say no to American flights.”

Meanwhile, Premier Burt gave the assurance that the government will continue to examine and adjust existing protocols as needed.

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