Bermuda’s Premier David Burt says the government is planning to launch a benefits scheme for hospitality industry workers whose livelihoods have been hit by the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Burt said that he had held talks with the Hotel Employers of Bermuda (HEB) and the white-collar Bermuda Industrial Union (BIU) as a number of hotels advised of imminent temporary closures and airlines announced suspension of incoming flights due to the spread of the virus.
“Cabinet approved an unemployment benefits scheme to assist hospitality workers.”— Burt
“The Bermuda government met with the HEB and the BIU to address concerns of layoffs and job losses. Cabinet approved an unemployment benefits scheme to assist hospitality workers whose livelihoods are impacted by COVID-19,” Burt wrote on his social media site on Wednesday.
Many guests were asked to cancel or reschedule reservations and additional flexibility was offered for rebooking. All arriving passengers — locals and tourists — have been ordered by the government to self-quarantine for 14 days.
One hotel, the Elbow Beach, said it will close its doors from Sunday until May 6. A boutique hotel, the Rosedon, has suspended operations and moved to takeaway service to slow the spread of COVID-19. The hotel asked most of its staff to stay at home for the next 30 days.
American Airlines has cancelled all flights to Bermuda until May 6.
The Tourism Ministry said Canadian carrier WestJet, which flies to the island from Toronto, will stop service for 30 days to all non-domestic destinations at midnight on Sunday, while Delta Air Lines has suspended service from John F Kennedy International Airport and Boston International Airport from Saturday until March 31.
The company’s website said that service from Bermuda to Atlanta “will continue to operate daily as scheduled”.
The Skyport Bermuda website said that British Airways has cancelled its flight to Bermuda from London Gatwick on March 31.