The Bermuda government on Thursday reimposed a night-time curfew in the face of a sharp rise in coronavirus cases, driven by the new, highly transmissible Omicron variant.
Bars and restaurant owners are preparing to take a big hit over the holiday period because of the curfew, which will run from 12.30 am to 5:00 am. Tables and bars at restaurants will be limited to groups of no more than 10 people, spaced six feet apart. The restrictions will be in force until at least January 20, the government said.
The previous curfew was lifted at the start of November as fourth-wave cases eased.
Dennie O’Connor, owner of the White Horse Pub and Restaurant in St George’s, said the curfew means closure at least an hour earlier to allow staff to get home before the deadline.
He said the curfew had come at the worst time of the year and would hit bars and restaurants hard.
“The news of the curfew is the final blow for us in the restaurant industry as this is the highest revenue time of the year with the tourist season dying out,” he told the Royal Gazette newspaper adding that the new curfew could see revenues slashed by as much as 50 per cent.
“It’s a hard hit. A huge hit. We all understand why it’s being done but, at the same time, people have to be allowed to live,” he shared.
Bermuda’s Health Minister, Kim Wilson, also “strongly” discouraged household mixing, saying if they did everyone should take an antigen test before meeting. The island’s zoo has also been closed to protect animals after the jump in coronavirus cases.
The number of confirmed Omicron cases has shot up to 74 with active cases overall rising to 152, a rise of 90 from the previous report, according to health officials.
In all, Bermuda has recorded 5,917 COVID-19 cases with 106 deaths. Seventy per cent of the population have been doubly vaccinated with 28 per cent also receiving a booster shot.