Premier’s Statement On Travel, Airport Issues

June 21, 2021 | 21 Comments

“What some Bermudians are experiencing at airports is heartbreaking, and we have made our displeasure known to the airlines themselves,” Premier David Burt said, adding that a message has been sent to the airlines saying that “no Bermudian should be denied entry into Bermuda.”

Premier’s Statement

The Premier said, “This holiday weekend, Bermudians celebrated on the water, on the beach and at family get-togethers across the Island. The end of the restrictions that have dominated our lives for far too long brought some welcome relief. But our ability to do these things is directly connected to a strong border policy. Protecting Bermuda at the borders from coronavirus variants must be our top priority in this phase of the global pandemic..

“I’ve seen the photos and the videos. What some Bermudians are experiencing at airports is heartbreaking, and we have made our displeasure known to the airlines themselves. Some travellers have experienced challenges submitting correct information to the new Travel Authorisation, and we will continue to do all that we can to help those arriving passengers safely and seamlessly get to Bermuda.

“As I said in the House of Assembly on Friday, the Government is not denying any Bermudian the right to return home. Whilst the requirement for a Travel Authorisation is not new, we have had to work with our airline partners to ensure that they have the correct information. I can confirm that the following message was sent to IATA – the international airline regulatory body – following the first indication of the issues with returning residents:

“Recently, some Bermudians have experienced challenges when trying to board flights to Bermuda because they did not have the necessary Travel Authorisation documents. Please update your system advising that, “under the provisions of the Bermuda Constitution Order 1968, no Bermudian should be denied entry into Bermuda, as Bermuda cannot deny a resident his or her ability to return home.”

“We will continue to reiterate this message and make the point that no Bermudian should be refused boarding a flight home for this reason.

The Premier continued: “There is enough misinformation in circulation, so it is irresponsible of the Opposition to add to it. The Quarantine Order made by the Minister of Health followed the law to the very letter. The procedure under the Quarantine Act requires the Minister to make the Order first (sign it and publish it) and then to table it in the Legislature. In fact this is one of many changes to border controls made since this pandemic began, and they have all been made in the exact same way. The Quarantine Act 2017 is clear, and the Order is properly made and operative.”

“The adoption of new and different restrictions has been a challenge throughout this pandemic, but these changes were announced on Tuesday as part of the regular Covid press conference, and so any suggestion that notice of the changes was any later is simply false.”

The Premier concluded: “This weekend, I felt the full brunt of the frustration of those people who have tried to follow the rules and fully appreciate the stress and anxiety these situations can cause. On behalf of the Government, I apologise for the unfortunate circumstances that have arisen.

“An entire team has worked this holiday weekend, making themselves available to assist as many people as possible, and that work is continuing. We must own the issues, and I will tomorrow invite the Cabinet to consider waiving any penalty for incomplete Travel Authorisations for residents while we work to ensure all travellers are familiar with the revised process.

“I believe, in fact, I know, that Bermudians are tired of restrictions which have had a clear economic impact on hard-working women, men and families. I believe Bermudians want this economy open and active so that they can work full time, pay their bills and enjoy this summer. It is only with strong border protection that we can maintain this. Our policies strike the necessary balance between our social and economic well-being and, like so many other countries, are designed to move beyond the pandemic.”

Government’s Statement

In a separate statement issued earlier, a Government spokesperson said, “Bermudians travelling home are not being denied entry by the Government of Bermuda. All of the airlines that service the island are aware of the protocols for boarding Bermudians.

“What is occurring is that Bermudians abroad are being denied boarding by the airlines and, we are keenly aware of the anger and anxiety that this is causing.

“Before travelling to Bermuda, everyone should take a moment to learn about our entry requirements, on-island health and safety measures, testing capacity and more. Since July of 2020 all travellers boarding flights to Bermuda have been required to have a Travel Authorisation [TA].

“Visit here for all of the information on the Travel Authorisation. When applying for a Travel Authorisation [TA], loading a SafeKey [expired or current], for example, or any expired documents, will result in a TA denial. If you are fully immunised, upload your vaccination certificates only and NOT your SafeKey.

“Everyone should complete the Travel Authorisation [TA] with all necessary documents. Have your documents ready before you start the TA process. This includes your test results, vaccine certificates or hotel/exemption confirmations.

“If you do not have all of the information and your TA is rejected, please call the Covid-19 helpline at 444-2498 for assistance. The helpline operates from 8 am until 8 pm every day. To assist those with rejected TAs further, the helpline team will contact the traveller to make sure he or she understands what must be rectified to ensure a TA approval.

“To get an exemption from the quarantine hotel or to have your quarantine hotel stay paid for by the Government requires completing the online form as soon as possible. Failure to complete the Travel Authorisation correctly and entirely will delay entry into Bermuda or incur significant fees. The exemption application can be found here.

“It is crucial for travellers to be fully prepared, with all of the necessary documents, prior to completing your TA. Be very meticulous in filling out the information with all of the correct information, especially your email address.”

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You can find more information on the links below and also on our dedicated website BermudaCovid.com, which is the most comprehensive resource and historic record available of Bermuda’s handling of the pandemic.

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Comments (21)

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  1. Barracks says:

    All this Crap is very cumbersome to travel, especially with families, especially when Medical is involved.
    Travel can be very difficult enough without this barrage of testing everyone, notification to Gov’t, filling out a TA, waiting for approval, wearing masks for hours, long lines of traffic and TSA Security and so on. We are all a bunch of YEs MeN to Gov’t. Then you got all your categories of taxes to fill out which takes more time and frustration. Now you need a secretary just to keep all your records together and accounted for. What a headache bermuda makes of traveling! You need a Vacation after all this stupid mess. ONLY IN BERMUDA! ALWAYS DE HARD WAY!!! Makes me Hate coming back.

    • iyiyi says:

      Yes ..UPLOAD THIS DOWNLOAD THAT and if it’s not complete or wrong then your denied entry !!! If they do let you return then you arrive home to face a $1000 to $1300 fee for the travel form and covid test . A pack of crap … i need a break after 2 years of being stuck here but no way in hell am i going to travel and be more stressed out worrying if i will have problems getting back . NOT HAPPY MR BURT !!!

  2. Premier Burt you and Minister Wilson is the cause of all this confusion and for you to come out and make this statement is utterly ridiculous. 10 weeks ago it was you The Premier of Bermuda that stated at the press conference, That no unvaccinated traveler will be allowed to land in Bermuda if they didn’t have a pre-paid receipt for 14 day accommodation in Bermuda uploaded to the travel authorization form, and if it is not completed they would not be allowed to land in Bermuda, and this includes Bermudian residents.

    Premier Burt do you remember these words, and you spoke the exact words again a week ago on June 15th and Minister Wilson backed you up on it, and now you want to come out in this press release with a turn about face, it is not acceptable, you and Minister Wilson created this mess and you need not try to act as if you are now sympathetic towards the travelers, especially those who are supposed to be exempted for medical purposes.

    I find it amazing that MP Kim Swan hit the nail right on the head when he did his video from the airport overseas, and showing his wife while hearing his voice, saying this is against the law, no Bermudian can be stopped from going back home, it’s against International law and International Treaties, I guess you didn’t know that, and it’s amazing how you gave a 30 second sound bite during the House of Assembly debate on Friday gone, and admitted that you couldn’t stop Bermudians from entering Bermuda.

    Yet we still have these problems, and you never told Bermudians that you have to do your bookings of 14 days 72 hours before traveling home in order to be able to be approved for the travel authorization form, another disaster you and Minister Wilson created. There are presently 4 families in the Boston area still facing issues of returning home because of your incompetency.

    • Tom says:

      Shaggy didn’t have any problems!! Lol !

    • K says:

      Thank you! Just the other day he was talking about denying Bermudians at the border and now this. This is some crazy times.

    • Red Pill says:

      And when their back is against the wall when they are cornered like a – - – they spin their statements and I’m trying not to call them what I want to call them. I do believe they think everybody in Bermuda is stupid or ignorant. Well breaking news we are not. Stop this over reaction to an overblown Pandemic and the illegal action against the citizens of this island.

  3. Micro says:

    Government should’ve made sure the policy was clearly worded and could not be misinterpreted.

  4. dunn juice says:

    more BS, suppose it was you. Oh im the premier of Bermuda i must go.
    You mixing words more and more.
    Go do another app

  5. Arlene says:

    1) The original wording in the instructions for the Travel Authorization Form stated in bold font ‘will not be allowed entry into Bermuda’.
    2) It takes 72 hours for approved medical exemptions but the new forms only went live at mid-day Friday.
    3) people have been traveling to Bermuda since July 2020 with little interruption until this weekend. What changed? Not the people traveling, not the airlines’ policies – just the Government process.

  6. Hard At Work says:

    Maybe they should cancel the need for a pre-approval document for Bermudians/residents, and only require proof of a negative pre-test on arrival at the airport. As more and more people travel, the processing is being taxed and cannot handle the volume of applications. Simplify it for Locals and take them out of the pre-approval process. If we can’t be denied entry to our own country, why the requirement for a pre-approval?

  7. 4REAL says:

    NO ONCE CARES ABOUT WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY BURT!
    YOUR POLITICAL CAREER IS OVER AFTER THIS!! YOU HAVE DESTROYED THE FOUNDATION OF WHAT THE PLP STANDS FOR! YOU’RE THE WORST PREMIER IN BERMUDA HISTORY!
    YOU HAVE DIVIDED THE PEOPLE AND DESTROYING OUR ECONOMY!!
    NO ONE WILL EVER RESPECT YOU OR YOUR PARTY AGAIN!
    JUST REMEMBER BERMUDA HISTORY WILL DEFINE A LABOUR GOVERNMENT THAT DIVIDED THEIR PEOPLE AND DISCRIMINATED AGAINST THEIR PEOPLE WHILE ATTEMPTING TO DESTROY THE UNIONS AND RUINED OUR ECONOMY! SHAME ON YOU BURT, YOU DESTROYED A LABOUR GOVERNMENTS LEGACY IN LESS THEN A YEAR! AND THOSE IN YOUR PARTY THAT DON’T STAND UP AND SPEAK OUT OPENLY FOR THE PEOPLE’S RIGHTS ARE JUST AS BAD AS THE INDIVIDUAL ENFORCING THIS DICTATORSHIP!

  8. Abassett says:

    I had the same experience in January when Delta refused to board me until I had the preauthorization.
    The airline staff was rude and adamant that Bermuda gave the mandate.
    The preauthorization came through just before the door was closed. Extremely distressful.

  9. itsnowonder says:

    Now the Premier is throwing the airlines under the bus. We all heard him say that no one will be allowed entry without the proper documentation.

    • wing nut says:

      what about in the beginning of the pandemic, oh we will get all Bermudians home no matter what.
      packyourbagspapa

    • aceboy says:

      Yup. Even though the Bermuda govt tells the airlines what the policy is…its the airlines’ fault.

  10. public citizen says:

    To all Bermudian travelers: As of this morning, the TA system is still not working properly, and Jetblue is most certainly not letting any Bermudians board their flight without a completed TA form. Plan accordingly, not that there is much you can do about it. Getting cut off after waiting on the Helpline for 65 minutes wasn’t very helpful.

  11. Ringmaster says:

    Why isn’t the PLP doing what it does best? That is do nothing and then follow and copy others. Now they do their own thing it is a disaster for residents and any visitor. No wonder no one wants to visit. It all goes back to the basics, that the PLP should stay in Opposition with no responsibilities, because they have proven over the last 20 years they are useless and clueless to Govern.
    Now they can now add Covid to the Financial crisis as their excuses for their economic incompetence.

  12. Paul says:

    Not only are the people in Bermuda, fed up with the dictatorial leadership his own members of the PLP are fed up .also his backbench members are fed up..
    Bermuda,we the people do have a say in our Island..

  13. Red Pill says:

    Other jurisdiction don’t even do a 14 day quarantine this is like the beginning of the pandemic it’s fading now.. so why all these ridiculous rules and travel authorizations now you telling people they cannot travel or come home which is illegal, if not then you are certainly making it difficult. Stop trying to make money off the people from this pandemic. The people of Bermuda are hurting financially and now you have the audacity to try and take more money from them, it’s getting beyond ridiculous people can see right through you. With your making Bermuda safe for everyone bull. You’re just punishing people monetarily for not getting the vaccine and with the hope that they do get it that’s coercion and that’s illegal according to the Nuremberg Code and at the same time you’re taking care of the Hotels, we can see your intentions. People need to realize their rights are being violated. And that includes his followers.

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      “Other jurisdiction don’t even do a 14 day quarantine ”

      The fact that some jusrisdictions do not have quarantine rules does not negate the fact that others do. Bermuda is not alone in this.

      There are places in this world that insist every entrant, whether local or not, isolate for 14 days, whether fully vaccinated or not.

  14. Question says:

    You’d have thought that among the 6,500 civil servants on full pay for doing nothing for the past year and a half, they could have found someone to keep the website up to date.

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