Covid: rules tightened for large groups and sporting events – The Royal Gazette


Updated: Sep 15, 2021 5:14 PM

Ernest Peets, Minister of Youth, Culture and Sports (file photo by Akil Simmons)

Exemption requests for large groups will be subject to further scrutiny due to the surge in coronavirus cases, the Minister of Youth, Culture and Sports said today.

Ernest Peets added that reducing the number of gatherings would help “contain the current epidemic”.

He said: “We understand the social, cultural, psychological and economic benefits of such events, however, given the country’s current concerns about coronaviruses, the ministry will apply stricter criteria for considering the events.

“This is to ensure that risks can be minimized while allowing events of cultural and material economic significance to take place safely. “

Dr Peets added: “From now on, indoor events will not be catered for and the need for large gatherings will be assessed with further consideration.

“While the new criteria are not retroactive in their entirety, we will be reviewing all previously approved events over the next month to review the risks and mitigations needed, and contact the relevant organizers. “

From Friday, groups without exemptions will be capped at 20 people.

The minister said the rules of the sport will be tightened immediately.

Dr Peets explained: “While we appreciate the importance of sport to our community and its health benefits for the population, at this time group activities should be discouraged. “

He said the island would revert to Stage 1 of the “back to sport” guidelines, which includes a limit on maximum group size, no contact, no fan and physical distance.

The Minister said: “In addition, it is strongly recommended that no group training takes place for the next two weeks.”

Dr Peets added: “Reducing sport participation and training protocols and reducing the number of exemptions for large groups are measures that will help contain the current epidemic, so there is a need to help. to reverse the trend.

“Finally, I want to stress that it gives us absolutely no joy to place additional limits on the activities in which we can engage.

“However, we must ensure the safety, health and well-being of all.

“We are currently experiencing significant community spread of the Delta variant, and as a government we must do all we can to protect lives and protect our health resources.”

In the Senate this morning, Ben Smith, a senator from the One Bermuda Alliance, questioned Dr. Peets’ decision to announce the change through a press release rather than in the Senate.

Mr Smith said: “It would have been a great opportunity to get this information to the Senate so that we can ask questions and debate them instead of releasing it while we are sitting here.

“There are questions I would like to ask that I haven’t had a chance to ask because the statement didn’t come.

“And the minister responsible for it is sitting here in this room. “

Mr Smith said it was understandable that some restrictions were put in place given the upsurge in Covid-19 cases, but it seemed sport was paying the price for the measures.

“School sport did not take place last year. We are entering this year and it will not happen again, ”he said.

“Sport must become a priority, not a buzzword. “

UPDATE: This article has been updated to include a change to the group size limit, which will take effect on Friday, along with comments made in the Senate.

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