Premier Responds To Petition About U​.​S Flights

June 28, 2020

Following the launch of a petition calling for the Government to not allow flights from the U​SA due to their high rates of Covid-19, Premier David Burt has responded saying that “our testing requirements for visitors are the most stringent in the world and are designed to keep our residents and visitors safe” and “it is vital that we open the airport and allow visitors to arrive” as it “is a critical step required to get hundreds of hospitality workers back to work.”


The petition said, “Bermuda is due to accept flights from the United States in two short weeks. The U.S. is the world’s epicenter of Covid-19 with new cases surging out of control each day. The decision to allow American tourists onto our shores is questionable at best, and puts our citizens’ health and safety in jeopardy.

“Bermuda has done a great job of keeping this pandemic under control thus far, but opening our borders to Covid hotspots can quickly set us back, eventually leading to more widespread sickness, hospitalizations and ultimately deaths. Although we are promised there will be testing protocols in place, it only takes one case to slip under the radar, for a catastrophic domino effect to ensue [superspreaders etc]. By then it could be too late for us to catch up.

“Other places around the world have shown us that rushing back to normalcy is a big mistake. As states are reopening, increases in infections and deaths are also rising sharply. Air travel from the U.S. is currently banned in the EU and Canada among others, and there is no reason we cannot follow suit.

“We understand and sympathize with the hardships in our tourism sector, but we must look at the bigger picture at stake. If our cases rise and we return to phase one, our entire economy will be worse off. Another lockdown will prolong small business suffrage, and keep many of us at home instead of back to work. We love our American neighbors and will welcome them back in due time, but right now we need to be sensible and delay.

“We are asking Premier David Burt to delay all flights from the U.S. until they are able to get their cases on a downward trend. We care about the elderly. We care about the sick and immunocompromised. We care about our little island Bermuda and its people. We say no to American flights.”

Premier David Burt’s Statement

In response to the petition, Premier David Burt stated, “The Government is aware of the petition that is circulating and the rightful concerns raised by the organizers and those who are signing it. As a country we have managed the impact of COVID-19 in Bermuda. Our current World Health Organization status is sporadic cases.

“This Government’s goal has always been to contain and minimize the impact of the virus, which we have done. However we can’t let the economic impact on the country be worse than the disease itself. In the last three months, the Government has implemented stringent public health guidelines and taken a phased approach to safely opening our economy. This is the next step in a careful and deliberate process.

“We know public health measures work. Physical distancing, wearing a mask and washing hands frequently together with enhanced sanitization processes work. The other key to our success has been extensive testing. In the last few weeks, we have put in place pop up testing locations so everyone can get tested.”

The Premier continued, “Now it is vital that we open the airport and allow visitors to arrive. This is a critical step required to get hundreds of hospitality workers back to work. Our testing requirements for visitors are the most stringent in the world and are designed to keep our residents and visitors safe. The guidelines we are implementing will be strictly adhered to.

“Visitors are strongly encouraged to get tested three to five days before they come to Bermuda. If their testing results are delayed, they will have the option to come to Bermuda, but they will be tested upon arrival and then tested again on day three of their visit. During those three days, the visitor will be required to quarantine in the room at their accommodation. If the pre-departure test result arrives during the 3-day quarantine it will be counted as a valid pre-departure test and the visitor will be released from quarantine.

“Additionally, all visitors coming to Bermuda who have a negative test result will be required to be tested when they arrive, on day 3, day 7 and day 14 of their stay. The number of tests required obviously depends on the length of stay.

“If at any time their test result is positive they will be fitted with a quarantine bracelet and will be required to isolate in their room. The bracelets will alert the authorities if the person attempts to leave their room.

“All visitors will be required to complete an electronic pre-boarding form before they can board a plane to Bermuda. They cannot have a positive test result and must not be sick or have COVID-19 symptoms. The visitor must demonstrate they have health/medical insurance to cover all medical costs should they get sick while in Bermuda.

“If a visitor becomes ill while in Bermuda, they will be required to isolate for a minimum of 14 days at their own expense or until they can leave the island by private jet or yacht.

“Additionally visitors will be told of the requirement to wear a mask, how to establish physical distancing and the requirement to frequently wash their hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer.”

The Premier concluded, “As we move forward, we will continually examine our protocols and adjust them, as needed. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have proven to be nimble in our response. All agencies involved have shared information and worked together closely. This will continue. We will do all in our power to make sure people in Bermuda remain safe.

“If breaches are observed, members of the public can dial 211 to file a report with the Bermuda Police Service who will investigate immediately. We have developed a good record and strong reputation for our handling of the crisis. This will continue.”

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Comments (38)

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  1. Me says:

    Does not matter how many times we test them if it slips trough it spreads and we are stuck to deal with infectious foreign cases what happens do they put they put positive visitors back on flights to infect others on the way home or do we hospitalize them here ?

    • Portia says:

      There is no indication that cases will “slip through” if the visitor is repeatedly tested. The vast majority of people who DO contract the virus will NOT require hospitalization. Any person who is positive will simply be quarantined at their own expense.

      • bluenose says:

        And what about the people that that person has been in contact with?

    • Not gonna happen says:

      “They can leave by yacht or private plane…”? Who does Burt think these tourists are? Millionaires?

      • REAL TALK says:

        The Premier unfortunately has technical officers under him that are advising him and Cabinet incorrectly. Hopefully he will consult with people that will actually do the work because the ones that are advising him are completely clueless. If this trend continues sadly his own supporters will not show up to vote the next election.

    • Don’t open. says:

      Portugal has gone through a second wave of COVID for this very same reason. If we open our Borders that will be the worst mistake ever. US causes are still rising. With over 100,000 New cases and 3,000 new deaths.
      We do need to open at some point, but not yet at all.

  2. Ringmaster says:

    If one person tests positive on a flight, do all the other passengers have to be quarantined as happened up to now?

  3. Money over People says:

    In short: “we don’t care about your petition. The airport will be opening.”

    • Portia says:

      Good. It should be. This is nonsense.

      • bluenose says:

        So what happens if someone flew in and then tests positive? What about all of the other passengers who may now have been infected?

  4. Real Deal says:

    you got to trust the Premier he not going to do something calculated to set us back. this is a lack of trust people are not going to be just walking into Bermuda unprocessed. there is Most likely going to be high demand from flights to Bermuda because it is close to the Usa and it has the virus under control. let the people come I trust their is a process in place. people we have good thinkers in Gov

    • why says:

      This is the problem and no one has said it, but I will. Are we to trust all the Americans arriving here to do what is required? Are we to lock them in their rooms? I don’t mean to sound silly, but just look at what is going on in the States. Some people are refusing to wear mask, some think there isn’t a virus at all. I am not saying all Americans are that way, but it only takes one to start it off

    • Heya says:

      What like buy tests that are no good from Korea. Like pretend we were aggressively testing early, when we didn’t have hardly any tests until Britain sent us a good solid supply of tests to help us out.

      Look Real Deal, PLP politicians are in it for the money, they will say whatever it takes to make you think what they want you to think.

      Why in 18 years has the PLP not improved education standards for our children?

    • No way says:

      Trust the Premier? Surely you are a comedian? This is no time for jokes or men who think they know how to run our country!

  5. Concerned Parent says:

    People are forgetting that there are still many students still stranded and just want to come home. I’m one of the parents trying to get their children home safe. These first flights will be filled with more locals than visitors.

  6. Issue says:

    So they get tested in the USA, and test positive. They board a flight and say they didn’t take a test and they’ll get tested here. It’s already spread on that plane. A negative test should have been required, and not an option.

    It’s a real issue, people will not get tested in the USA for fear that they test positive and lose their vacation or it is more than $75 in the USA for a test so they will wait to be tested.

    • trufth says:

      Ah, you make a very good point! If I have a trip to BDA planned and I test positive, there’s a chance I’m going to say that I didn’t have time to take a test and show up anyway. Bermuda is an expensive vacation – people aren’t going to want to lose money and since it’s now ok to NOT test before you get here, what’s the big deal, they say. Test here knowing you will test positive and quarantine in the sunshine.

      Some may say “having Covid in sunny Bermuda beats having Covid just about anywhere else.”

    • Cindie says:

      The test is of no cost in the US. So there is no need to avoid being tested as required 3-5 days prior to the flight.

      I’d like to visit my family in Bermuda & willingly will do everything asked to make that happen.

    • NotAnIssue says:

      they still have to wear masks on the plane as well as being socially distanced on the plane in terms of seating.

      yes it only takes one but lets not forget the testing done on the ground as well when they get here.

  7. Sceptical says:

    Quarantine bracelets, nice work!

  8. Real Deal says:

    I would suggest Gov and BTA do a video taped dry run of what visitors are to expect and put it on public tv also give it to the air lines to show just before landing.

  9. Boston Whaler Owner says:

    “We don’t care what you think!”….ring any bells?

    • REAL TALK says:

      How about you ask the OBA/ubp Opposition you voted for what they think???

      • Toodle-oo says:

        I can’t remember .. did any of their members get in front of a camera and look the public in the eye , shaking their hands around and very distinctly saying ‘You don’t get it , we don’t care what you think’ ?
        My guess is they didn’t coz you’d have been on the front line screaming the place down.

  10. Joe Bloggs says:

    “it is vital that we open the airport and allow visitors to arrive” as it “is a critical step required to get hundreds of hospitality workers back to work.”

    And there we have it, making money and getting people back to work is more important than the health of the people. That is the same strategy being used by Donald Trump and Boris Johnson.

  11. Mark says:

    So they better add a line to the Press briefing for number of infected tourists.

    • Real Deal says:

      good suggestion makes sense and is good transparent move

  12. Warrior says:

    UK is not allowing Americans in. That should give rise to Premier Burts decision to halt the flights. Parents want students home, arrange another flight n get them here. Bermudians only. Everyone…everyone must get tested and placed into government quarantine two weeks. And be tested two weeks later. Sign an agreement to this.

    • Mark says:

      There’s the answer then. Burt hates anything UK so he’s bound to do the opposite.

    • A says:

      The UK is allowing Americans in. I just flew in last week to visit my boyfriend.

  13. Nice try! says:

    “We will do all in our power to make sure people in Bermuda remain safe.”

    I guess this is a lie, because keeping the airport closed or not allowing US visitors would certainly help to keep people in Bermuda safe.

    Or is the decision to open the airport beyond their power???

  14. Real Deal says:

    many of you are just over come by fear. don’t let fear control your judgment. take deep breath through your nose and think.

    we have only 9 deaths with a populations that is lased with old people and high risk people. It is not by chance or by luck that we have only 9 deaths.

    we need to WIN and not draw. we need to switch into attack formation for this 2nd half so that we come out on top and not struggling scraping by with a draw that we have to make up for in another game. Coach Burt bring out de Strikers 3 -3 -4 for the Win let the rest of the world come to find Sanctuary behind our lines and bring their offering of good will.

    • Luck indeed says:

      We’re not incapable of thinking, we just have different thoughts than you.

      Luck actually did play a large part in why we had so few cases/deaths. The virus doesn’t just appear in places; someone has to bring it, and the outbreak just happened to occurr during our tourism off-season when very few people were travelling here.

    • Mark says:

      Your logic is as poor as your grammar.

  15. Seemore says:

    Will the hospitality workers who become exposed to the sick tourist be guaranteed 14 days paid sick leave after being found positive with COVID-19? We will need a huge pool of temps to fill in.

    Do the taxi drivers have protective gear or a protocol prepared for their safety? Gloves to discard after handling the luggage and cash, trash bag and hand sanitizer come to mind. Is the driver willing to spray sanitize the handles and seats between each set of customers? What is expected of the passengers to keep the driver safe?

    A video of our expectations to show on Public TV and in the Arrival Hall would be good.

  16. Chris says:

    This does not help the economy in any way shape or form. The risk is an absolute danger to the economy. The island is almost at 0 cases and can open in full capacity after.

    Due to reduced flights, capacity on flights, no cruise ships and local resident spending in tourist venues. The gain to the economy is 2%.

    If you roll back 1 phase you loose 5% of economy
    If you roll back 2 phases you loose 14% of economy.
    If you roll back 3 phases you loose 27% of economy.
    If you roll back 4 phases you loose 57% of economy.

    Each phase roll back will also cause more bailout money needed. 2 weeks of bailout money will equal 14 weeks worth of what will come into the island during pandemic.

    This is not a health or economy decision. It is a greed decision by those close to and including Government officials that own pieces of hotel business. Nothing more!

  17. Chris says:

    Forgot to mention… 100% of places that have allowed US tourist in have had virus imported by Asymptomatic people.

    All of them admit that after getting tested in US they went out as normal between test and flight. The testing practice mentioned by government has not worked anywhere.