Premier Burt speaks
Good afternoon everyone.
With today’s gentle breezes and sunny skies, it hardly seems possible that just hours ago we were being battered by wind and waves. The sun rose this morning on a Bermuda that, by and large, fared well against the latest test that 2020 has brought us.
While I know that a considerable number of people remain without power, BELCO’s workers returned electricity to over 20,000 customers since the end of storm force winds. This is a remarkable achievement and I have already expressed by thanks on behalf of the people of Bermuda to those men and women at BELCO.
This morning, I was able to get out into the community to personally thank the men and women of the Royal Bermuda Regiment, who assisted in the efforts of clearing our roads from debris. Their hard work and continued effort, has helped Bermuda get back on its feet.
It is a source of some considerable pride in our Island that less than 24 hours after a hurricane warning was dropped in our country, our main roads are clear, the airport is open, transport and other public services will resume tomorrow, and our children will shortly be returning to school. This speaks to our preparation, our leadership at various levels in this crisis, and the overarching desire of the people of Bermuda to always get to work.
As the clean-up continues and we return to a normal sense of operations, I encourage everyone to remember the necessary safety precautions that COVID-19 requires of us, and our interactions with one another. Safety first. With or without COVID, the practice of looking out for our seniors and the most vulnerable in this community must continue. We can safely check on them and ensure that their immediate needs are addressed.
As I turn over this press conference to the Minister of National Security, I wish to reiterate the thanks I expressed yesterday to all agencies coordinated in the effort to restore Bermuda. Their work, under the leadership of Minister Ming, often to the exclusion of the needs of their own families, is invaluable in achieving the incredible results we have seen in such a short time.
Minister Ming speaks
Good afternoon Bermuda,
I am pleased to share that we are making remarkable progress with our post hurricane restoration efforts. I wish to echo the Premier’s comments about the phenomenal work being done by the BELCO crews to restore power to residents. At one point, Hurricane Paulette left over 25,000 customers without power on Monday.
However overnight several thousand households and businesses regained electricity and that is a testament to the hard work being done by the dedicated men and women at BELCO. As of their last report BELCO reported that there were around just over 3,900 customers without power. And we’re hopeful that number will become even less by the end of today. As it relates to the resumption of services such as public transport, schools and government offices, here’s what I can share.
The Royal Bermuda Regiment, Parks and Public Work crews have made great progress today clearing debris from the main roads, and traffic is flowing fairly unhindered.
Government Offices will open tomorrow morning.
As it relates to public schools, I can advise that all public schools will be closed tomorrow, Wednesday, September 16th for students only.
Again – for students only – all public schools will remain closed tomorrow.
However, tomorrow all school staff are expected to report to school.
The bus service will resume normal operations tomorrow morning.
And the school bus service will start on Thursday as public schools re-open.
All ferry service will resume tomorrow.
The L.F. Wade International Airport is open and receiving flights.
Regarding the COVID-19 testing, I can advise that Perot Testing facility opened at 10 am this morning to recommence testing for travellers.
Travellers have been sent communication to advise them of their new testing times today and for the remainder of the week.
If travellers are unable to receive emails at this time, they can contact the call centre at 444-2498 and someone will provide them with their revised scheduled time for testing.
Reviews are still being conducted to determine if the population testing sites will recommence on Wednesday 16th September.
Notifications will be sent out accordingly.
Trash collection will resume its normal schedule tomorrow.
Regarding Advanced Polling, this will take place tomorrow, Thursday and Friday. The polling stations are:
Midland Heights Seventh day Adventist Church
Horticultural Hall, Botanical Gardens
National Sports Centre Pavilion
St. Mary’s Church, Warwick
And lastly, it is expected that the RBR will end its embodiment this evening. So by all accounts, thanks to the assistance of all our partner agencies, Bermuda is back up and running in record time following Hurricane Paulette. As the Minister of National Security, I wish to publicly thank all of these hard working individuals who in some cases were away from their family during the hurricane, to ensure that Bermuda was kept safe.
Finally, just switching gears a bit, I know that there has been considerable chatter in the community regarding Tropical Storm Teddy, which is currently approximately 1500 nautical miles southeast of Bermuda.
Much uncertainty remains, and it is too early to make any predictions about the long-term track of TS Teddy. Bermuda Weather Service will be continuously monitoring this storm for future developments and we will update the public as always. With that, I am happy to take any questions.