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Lockdown in Paradise

27.07.20

By Megan Benedek of Benedek Lewin Limited

Relative to some parts of the world Bermuda acted early to the COVID 19 pandemic and closed its borders to outside visitors on 20th March 2020. Schools and businesses followed soon after and by the end of March we were in strict lockdown or as we called it, “shelter in place”. Shelter in place was strict but it was short and sweet.  Although beaches and parks were closed we were allowed to go for walks within a half mile radius from our homes.  We were also allowed to go shopping twice a week according to our last names.  After 4 weeks we entered into phase 1 of reopening.  Parks and beaches reopened and so did restaurants to take away food.  We quickly progressed through phases 2, 3 and finally, as of 1st July 2020, to phase 4 of reopening, the “new normal”.

By all accounts the Government of Bermuda deserve top marks for their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  They worked tirelessly, acted decisively and kept everyone informed throughout.  Bermuda was early in embracing physical distancing and the mandatory wearing of masks while entering buildings and shopping.  While Bermuda sadly has had 9 deaths the number of cases has been relatively low and the health system was never overburdened.  We are now in the enviable position of having a very close to normal existence.

During shelter in place the schools did a fabulous job of setting up online classrooms.   A few schools reopened in phase 3 and so some children were able to go back to school for the last 3 weeks of the summer term.  For many children PE was a daily walk around the neighbourhood.  The weather was glorious, sunny but not too hot with beautiful ocean breezes.  There was virtually no traffic.  Instead, the roads were filled with people taking their exercise out walking.  People got to know their neighbours and there was a wonderful atmosphere of warmth and comradery.

On 1st July 2020 Bermuda reopened its airport to flights from the US, London and Toronto. “At a time when international travel is limited for many…, the island is a beautiful, close and comfortable option for those in need of an unforgettable escape” said Victoria Isley of the Bermuda Tourism Authority. “Bermuda offers guests an accessible, safe destination with wide open spaces and pink sand beaches, clean ocean breezes and brilliant turquoise waters, plus meaningful cultural connections and fresh island fare.”  The UK Government included Bermuda on its list of places their residents can visit and be exempt from quarantine upon arrival back to England.

Prior to reopening Bermuda was COVID free. To protect Bermudians and visitors alike, the Government of Bermuda has very strict travel protocols in place which allow for the testing and tracking of all who arrive.  While there have been a few positive cases coming in they have been identified and contained.

The opportunity to experience living in Bermuda has never been better.  Bermuda is offering year-long “residencies” to non-Bermudians who wish to call Bermuda home for up to 12 months while they study or play. Furthermore, if you own property in Bermuda you may apply for a residency certificate and come and go as you please.  Paradise awaits.

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