This evening the Minister of National Security Wayne Caines provided an update during the daily Covid-19 press briefing, speaking about the Community Advisory Check Points, Department of Correction facilities, the Government shelter, the Government Quarantine locations and restricted guidelines regarding kite flying on Good Friday.
Minister Caines said that the joint operation of Officers from the Bermuda Police Service and the Royal Bermuda Regiment “continue to ensure the public’s compliance.”
Minister Caines said this evening, “We currently have 200 RBR soldiers embodied working in a variety of capacities, including assisting in clearing the backlog of Shelter in Place exemption requests that have been received. I can advise that all requests for exemption that were submitted before midday today [April 8] have been processed.”
The Minister continued, “Over the past 24-hours the RBR conducted 3,998 vehicle stops at 25 Community Advisory Points. We have increased the locations and visibility of the community advisory points, which have expanded island-wide.
“We will also have BPS Officers patrolling the railway trails to ensure that these areas are kept clear in accordance with the Shelter in Place guidelines. Again, anyone who does not have a valid reason for being on our roads during the Shelter in Place will either be turned back, detained, or even in some cases as we have seen arrested and brought before the courts.”
Minister Caines also shared an update regarding the correction facilities.
He said, “Increased measures have been put in place – including the pre-screening of staff prior to being allowed into our correction facilities. In keeping with the legislative guidelines, visits at the correctional facilities remain suspended. Some of the inmate classes and progammes are also suspended. And our Corrections civilian staff are working remotely.”
Turning the Government managed Quarantine facilities Minister Caines said, “We appreciate that these are testing times, but the reality is that these are unprecedented times and there are some difficult sacrifices which must be made. However we also appreciate that there are those in these facilities who need specialised items. And we have heard the feedback.
“So, in keeping with the grocery store policy or the surname policy — persons who have family or friends currently in a government managed quarantine facility will be allowed to drop an essential care package at the specific location tomorrow April 9 and Friday April 10.
“Next week the essential care package drop off schedule will be Tuesday April 14 and Friday April 17. The drop off time is from 1pm – 5pm. No exceptions.
“The essential care package should have the room number visible and the recommended items should include key necessities such as toiletries, medication and essential foods, inclusive of any special dietary items. We ask that if at all possible, in keeping with the guidelines that one person makes this essential delivery.”
Minister Caines also provided an update regarding the Government run shelter.
“The temporary Shelter in Place accommodation for our vulnerable persons continues to operate at Berkeley in accordance with guidance provided by the Ministry of Health,” he said. “The shelter hours are 6.30 pm to 7.30 am. This allows time for the facility to be cleaned.
“Shelter residents are permitted to stay on the Berkeley property, on the field and covered lower level porch areas, while the shelter is closed to residents. Residents are provided with dinner, an evening snack and breakfast. They are also provided a snack and water to carry out with them in the morning.
“To ensure that the critical needs of the shelter residents are met as well as all operational, facility, and staffing, there is medical, security, maintenance, administration, and general volunteer support at the shelter. It is anticipated that the shelter will move from Berkeley to CedarBridge Academy within the next 48 hours. In consideration of social distancing requirements, the facilities at CedarBridge Academy are more suited for a shelter during the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Minister Caines concluded, “Lastly we know the cultural significance of the upcoming Good Friday holiday. Kite flying is considered one of the cornerstones of our heritage. But while the breeze may be perfect for pitching kites and seeing colourful hummers on full display in our skies is a heartening sight, even this tradition must be tempered by the reality of our current global situation.
“We simply cannot do what we instinctively want to do at this time of year. Fly your kite in your own yard and enjoy the day at home in keeping with the Regulations that govern our shelter in place at this time. Any kite that gets lost or goes down, must be abandoned. This is not optional.
“On Easter Sunday, churches will still be closed. However we expect and encourage our religious and faith based entities to continue to provide their Sabbath and Sunday services and observations via online and broadcast mediums.
“Finally, I will end with a familiar but necessary refrain. Again, I am urging members of the community to please adhere to the guidelines as set out in the Emergency Powers Act 2020.
“For the avoidance of doubt our objective is to limit the movement of the general public to prevent the transmission of the COVID-19 virus in Bermuda. If you don’t need to be on the roads stay home. Stay inside. Shelter in Place is being done to save lives.”