[Updated] All individuals, including guest workers, arriving into Bermuda are required to self-quarantine for 14 days and “any guest worker found to be violating the self-quarantine order will immediately have their work permit revoked,” Minister of National Security Wayne Caines said.
A government spokesperson said, “The Minister of National Security, the Hon. Wayne M. Caines, JP, MP, issued an urgent advisory today, specifically for all guest workers as it relates to COVID-19 [coronavirus].
Minister Caines who is also the Co-Chair of the Emergency Measures Organisation [EMO] said, “As I have previously stressed the health, safety and wellbeing of all our residents is paramount.
“As the public is aware, as of today, March 17, 2020, all individuals inclusive of guest workers arriving into Bermuda are mandatorily required to self-quarantine for 14 days.
“This means – stay home. Practise social distancing. More specifically any guest worker found to be violating the self-quarantine order will immediately have their work permit revoked.”
“All residents are strongly advised to adhere to the Government’s health and public services advisories as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Update 6.20pm | BPSU Response
BPSU President Armell Thomas said, “The Bermuda Public Services Union [BPSU] highlights the urgent advisory issued on Tuesday, March 17 by the Minister of National Security Wayne Caines regarding penalties against persons who violate the Government’s recently implemented self-quarantine order.
“In this public statement, the Minister advised that all individuals arriving into Bermuda are required to self-quarantine for 14 days. The BPSU joins the Government in its plea that all residents adhere to the Government’s health and public services advisories as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was noted, however, that MP Caines went on to state that “any guest worker found to be violating the self-quarantine order will immediately have their work permit revoked.”
“While the Union fully supports the Government’s efforts to manage this fast-changing crisis and to implement controls to protect the public’s wellbeing, we are concerned that it appears that guest workers will be subjected to harsher penalties than their Bermudian counterparts.
“The BPSU takes a strong stance against all forms of discrimination and actively advocates for labour protections for all workers irrespective of nationality. The Union, cognisant of the important and positive contributions that migrant workers make to our economy, implore that the Government ensure that its policies are not discriminatory in nature and are equally enforced.
“The BPSU reminds the Government of the importance of collaboration with its Union partners, especially during times of national crisis; together we can protect both the safety and the rights of all Bermuda’s workers.”
Update 6.53pm | Minister Comments Again
“We now live in a time of harsh reality,” said the Minister of National Security Wayne Caines following on from his statement earlier today about possible penalties for guest workers who fail to observe mandatory self-quarantine.
“The people of Bermuda can rest assured that any penalties that flow from the failure of any person to observe required quarantine orders will be just and applied equally. There is no suggestion of singling out guest workers but everyone must understand that we all have a part to play in reducing the risk of community spread of COVID-19 in Bermuda.
“The world is enduring a new normal and entire populations are having to radically shift how they live and work and the population of Bermuda is no different. This is no time for undue sensitivities; we are engaged in protecting Bermuda from the most serious public health scenario in decades and to mince words at this time does an injustice to the very real threat we are trying to address.”