Despite the many challenges of 2020, Bermuda has navigated every obstacle, and remains open for business. Bermuda has many reasons to look to 2021 with great positivity, says Dennis Fagundo, president of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce.

“Our leadership, government, business and charitable sectors quickly recognised the threats of COVID-19 and responded.”
Dennis Fagundo, Bermuda Chamber of Commerce

In a world reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic, Bermuda stands firm, drawing on our collective hurricane experience. The solid infrastructure of healthcare professionals and economic diversification replace robust electrical and communications systems and strong buildings as the foundation for our recovery. The community spirit and universal sense of wanting to do the right thing is the great constant.

Bermuda has been very fortunate that our leadership, government, business and charitable sectors quickly recognised the threats of COVID-19 and responded. The technical teams tasked with sifting through reams of rapidly developing information, designing structures, regulations, and financial safety nets accomplished a herculean task.

Government acted decisively with the full support of the business community and together the Island is walking the tightrope, balancing the spread of COVID-19 against the general health and wellbeing of the population and the economy which enables it all.

The government is to be applauded for taking direct action quickly, instituting an unemployment benefit prior to the commencement of a Shelter in Place order. For those unable to work from home this was a vital step to protect the community’s wellbeing.

Brighter days ahead

Looking forward, Bermuda is in an enviable position. The Island has reopened for business. Businesses are able to operate, people can work. Travellers are able to visit for work or pleasure. Where the demand supports it, the economy is finding its feet.

The tourism sector has of course been hit the hardest. The absolutely necessary restrictions on travel have decimated the demand for our tourism product such that while it slowly puts the pieces back together, employment in the sector is slow to return.

As I write this we are riding a second wave of cases. Travel is testing the efficacy of our regulations. Determining the best balance for the wellbeing of the Island is a tricky exercise. We appear to moving in the right direction, carefully adjusting to stem the flow of new cases while not creating widespread hardship. As with any tricky balancing act there is no perfect solution, but empathy and consideration are steering us well.

Our next steps are clear, although that sounds almost facetious in this unpredictable year. We are building on the strong foundations of our regulatory environment, our robust infrastructure and the sectors of our economy that are thriving.

We are working to support and reinvigorate the sectors and their employees that have been hardest hit. We are encouraging government to look internally at process improvements and cost rationalisation while looking externally at the ever-present threats. We are navigating our way through it all.

Bermuda is open. New businesses are being started every day. New people are recognising all we have to offer and are relocating here. The domestic economy is stabilising while the international sectors are growing.

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