Updated: February 07, 2022 6:45 PM
Tim Morrison, president of the Bermuda Hotel Association and general manager of the Hamilton Princess and Beach Club (file photo)
A relaxation of the island’s Covid-19 restrictions was welcomed by the island’s hoteliers and restaurateurs yesterday.
Tim Morrison, president of the Bermuda Hotel Association and general manager of the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, said the organization “wholeheartedly” supports the changes, which included relaxing testing requirements for vaccinated travellers.
Changes to border restrictions, announced in the House of Assembly on Friday, will come into effect on March 7.
They include reducing the cost of a travel authorization from $75 to $40.
On-arrival testing for air visitors and subsequent testing on the island will be waived for up-to-date vaccinated people
SafeKey requirements have also been dropped for venues, including restaurants and bars, and the maximum group size has been increased from 20 to 100.
Mr Morrison said it was “a testament to the Government’s commitment to working with the tourism and hospitality industry to take steps to fully reopen our economy safely, while balancing appropriate levels of safety protocols. ongoing health and safety”.
He added that the BHA would work closely with the Bermuda Tourism Authority to keep “key international travel markets”, as well as airlines serving Bermuda, informed of developments.
Mr Morrison said a collective effort was underway to return ‘main business, leisure and group activities to our destination’.
Stephen Todd, the chief executive of the BHA, thanked the government, healthcare professionals and “everyone, both on the frontline and in support roles”, and the public for keeping people safe. visitors and residents during the pandemic.
Mr Todd said a relaxation of testing rules “fully allows Bermuda to compete on a level playing field with other international destinations and countries taking similar steps to restore their economy and bring their residents back to full use”.
Kendaree Burgess, chief executive of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, added that the Chamber was pleased that “many meetings between health and industry have led to a relaxation of regulations”.
Ms Burgess said the restaurant industry viewed the removal of SafeKey as “a lifeline for a struggling industry”.
She added: “Families are returning to indoor dining – anecdotal reports of full dining rooms.
“The retail and tourism sectors are also breathing a sigh of relief, confident that the latest round of changes will hasten the return to in-person meetings and events on the island.”
Ms Burgess said the industry recognized that Covid-19 was continuing – but insisted the island had “the knowledge of how best to protect itself and operate safely”.
She added: “We look forward to increased activity to restart our economic engines.”