Bermuda is breathing a sigh of relief this evening when Premier Burt announced a relaxation of the state of emergency regulations with effect from this coming Saturday at 6am. But the Premier stressed that the Island had "come to the end of the beginning" and he outlined a phased return to normal life although he also made it clear that it was not possible to impose a timeline for the phases.
The Royal Gazette (29th April) provides a full report on this evenings press briefing, including the Premiers remarks as follows:-
The Premier announced this evening that the island had “come to the end of the beginning” as he revealed a relaxation of state of emergency restrictions.
David Burt outlined a phased return to normal life after several weeks of regulations that he said had “not been easy for any of us”.
But Mr Burt added the Government would not impose a timeline for the phases.
He explained: “We are going to look based upon what the conditions are on the ground.”
Mr Burt said Saturday at 6am would mark the end of shelter in place restrictions after a “marathon” Cabinet meeting yesterday,
But he urged the public to wear masks and maintain strict social distancing to avert the spread of the coronavirus.
A 10pm to 6am curfew will remain, with gatherings limited to no more than 10 people.
Mr Burt said he wanted to be “crystal, crystal clear” that emergency legislation that imposed restrictions extended to June 30.
He added: “We can change these laws very quickly.”
Mr Burt said if the situation worsened, “we will revert”.
Retailers will be allowed to open between 7am and 9pm, but only kerbside service or home delivery will be permitted.
Grocery stores and gas stations will remain open under their present conditions, with shoppers limited to specific days based on surname.
Construction and landscape services will be allowed to operate with social distancing and wholesalers will be allowed to deliver goods.
Funerals are still set at a maximum of ten mourners.
Limited cashier counter services will be introduced at the Transport Control Department, the Tax Commissioner’s Office, and the Government Administration Building on Monday and the courts will reopen.
Limited public transport will also resume on Monday, but schools will stay closed.
But parks, beaches and the Railways Trail will reopen, with golf courses resuming play — although club facilities must stay shuttered.
Diallo Rabain, the education minister, will outline further details on schools at Friday’s press conference.
Mr Burt said that he would hold a live online session tomorrow with the health minister to questions from the public from the Government’s Facebook page or Twitter account.
Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, said there would be announcements later this week on the status of checkpoints on the roads.
Mr Caines added that a decision would be made whether or not to keep the Royal Bermuda Regiment’s 120 embodied soldiers on the job.
Mr Burt said there would be three further stages of eased restrictions.
Expansion of services would be phase two, which would permit reopening of retail floor space and limited operation of personal services such as barbers.
Phase three — “moving to the new norm” — would see schools reopen and a return to normal for public transport.
It would also mean the end of mandatory working from home.
Phase four, “the new norm”, will mean “full reopening” of personal services such as spas and the return of dining in restaurants.
The number of people at public gatherings would be upped to 50.
Mr Burt said there was also the possibility of a return of commercial flights to the island at that stage.
The island also logged one additional positive case of Covid-19 today, out of 636 test results.
CLICK HERE for the rest of the Premier's presentation
The Royal Gazette usually broadcasts a live video of the Premier's press briefings but there appeared to be some technical problems this evening, but you can view the full press briefing on BERNEWS by CLICKING HERE.