Belize closed its borders on March 22 after the first covid-19 infected person arrived in Belize. Through a combination of quick response when the first case was detected, strong enforcement of the State of Emergency regulations with fines and jail time for violators and through public education and transparency, Belize has now been covid-19 free for over 6 weeks.
The borders are still closed as surrounding countries all have active covid-19 cases. As a result, hundreds of Belizeans have been “trapped” outside of Belize and unable to return home.
With covid-19 under control Belize is now preparing to open its borders for Belizeans and Belize residents in a controlled manner. Applicants can apply through a website and the government will control the number of returnees at any one time. Two weeks supervised quarantine will be required.
The international airport is still closed but 20 Belizeans arrived May 22 on flights intended for the repatriation of US Citizens. On May 23 a further 14 were delivered by the cruise ship that they had been working on.
In concert with Belize getting covid-19 under control, at least for the time being, the Prime Minister announced his aspirational goal of re-start of international flights on July 1. While the country wide Statute declaring a State of Emergency and the curfew stays in place until the 30 June, the country is cautiously opening up. The possibility of a second wave remains a concern.
The land borders are expected to remain closed as Belize neighbors all have active covid-9 cases. Most businesses are now open with strict adherence to social distancing, wearing of masks and sanitation. Hotels have been open for a few weeks. Restaurants with outdoor seating are now opening with six foot spacing and a maximum of 10 guests at a time.
Dive shops can now open from 05:00 am to 7:00 pm and that includes Splash Dive Center.
Swimming in the sea, rivers and pools is now allowed – face mask off when you go into the water but right back on when you come out!
Belize will continue the practices of mask wearing, social distancing and attention to personal hygiene. We are really looking forward to the day international tourist can return. The management of the covid-19 pandemic makes Belize the destination of choice for tourist once this pandemic is behind us. Belize – healthy and pristine and soon to be welcoming!