SailGP and the Bermuda Tourism Authority have both confirmed that the two bodies have begun working closely with the Bermuda government to ensure that, despite current COVID-19 restrictions, the forthcoming Bermuda Sail Grand Prix can go ahead as planned.
Earlier this week, the Bermuda government announced a new seven day stay-at-home order beginning 5am Tuesday, 12 April to address a new spike of active cases throughout the Caribbean nation.
As of 14 April, there are 880 active COVID-19 cases in Bermuda.
On 15 April, SailGP’s exemption application to continue operations at Cross Island, including on-water safety trials, during the stay-at-home order were granted by the Bermuda government.
This exemption allows sufficient time for on-water safety trials and training for athletes to familiarise themselves with the F50’s new systems.
To ensure the safety of local residents, teams and support staff, SailGP has begun also working closely with the Ministry of Health, leading experts, medical professions and major elite sports events to implement a robust COVID-Safe Plan.
Measures in this plan include new staff protocols, strict designated bubble environments, daily health reports, regular testing, a new hospitality program and the cancellation of spectator experiences.
SailGP will also drastically pare down its operational requirements during this stay-at-home order period, requiring only those essential to preparations and safety trials onsite, a condensed training programme from eight race boats to four and onsite hours reduced to their absolute minimum.
SailGP Season 2 is scheduled to commence 24 April and conclude 25 April.
“We are extremely sympathetic to the current situation in Bermuda and our thoughts are with everyone that has been affected by this terrible global pandemic. We are really pleased that we can return to our operations to ensure the safety of the event next weekend,” said SailGP CEO Sir. Russell Coutts.
“We thank the government for their assistance and the people of Bermuda for their understanding. Bermuda’s ability to deliver world class sporting events while facing unprecedented circumstances has helped to position them as a leading global sports destination with an administration that is able to diligently and efficiently manage these difficult circumstances.”
“Showing the world how Bermuda can navigate its way through a crisis is a valuable building block to a strong tourism recovery, particularly in the sporting world where the racing next week will be seen in 175 broadcast territories—including live in the United States on CBS,” added Bermuda Tourism Authority CEO Charles H. Jeffers II.
“The Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess will bring a smaller economic return to the island than the original forecast back in November, but we still expect a healthy return from $5 million direct spending on-island and media exposure around the world.”