[Column written by Craig Cannonier]
We are living in truly extraordinary times and as such, there is no choice but to take extraordinary measures. Self-isolation, self-quarantine and curfews are all necessary if we are to win this war against Covid-19.
Make no mistake, this is a war – one that socially and economically Bermuda cannot afford to lose. It was therefore greatly alarming to read that nine people were found not to be obeying quarantine laws. People must understand that these measures are meant to be short-term to ensure a future that is Covid-19 free, when Bermuda can start to rebuild.
The OBA has been and will continue to work with Government. This is no time for partisan politics, and we would welcome the opportunity to work with Government on a plan to help move Bermuda forward and rebuild.
As we have stated, it is right and proper to focus on protecting people’s health. That is the immediate priority. However, there is an enormous strain on the economy and Government revenue, so it is, in my view, crucial that we have a plan to show the world that we are open for business once this crisis abates.
We need to get Bermuda and Bermudians back to work as fast as we can. We stand ready and willing to help in any way we can.
Similarly, we are willing to help in any way possible with Government to ensure that not only employees get financial aid but also employers – especially the small Bermudian-run businesses.
If we are to recover quickly, we need to make sure that small businesses – which are the lifeblood of Bermuda – are still in existence and able to take advantage of opportunities once the pandemic has passed. We cannot tell the world we are open for business, if our businesses are shuttered.
I was delighted and relieved to hear that 400 more tests are on their way to Bermuda – it is a shame it is not the 800 previously announced two weeks ago – and that health supplies are on their way from China. More tests mean we really can aggressively test people and the supplies mean our frontline health workers will hopefully get the protection they need.
As I said, the OBA is prepared to work with Government. It is up to the people to show they are also willing to work with Government. Ignoring quarantine rules is not working with Government, ignoring social distancing is not working with Government, getting together at private bars is not working with Government.
We are all in this together. Do not be the person who breaks the rules and spreads this virus into the community.
Stay safe Bermuda.
– Craig Cannonier