The Government of Belize announces an extension to its Covid curfew effective July 4.
Responding to an uptick in Covid-19 cases in Belize, the government has announced that its ongoing curfew will lengthen this weekend. From July 4, the weekend curfew, on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, will begin an hour earlier, at 11:00 PM, and also end at 5:00 PM. The weekday curfew (Sunday-Wednesday) will remain 10:00 PM-5:00 AM.
Speaking yesterday, Minister of Home Affairs Kareem Musa said they were changing the weekend curfew from midnight to 11:00 PM to stop people partying.
According to Musa, that hour before midnight is, “a critical hour where things get out of control and people start the party, which again is not allowed under these regulations.”
#CURFEW: The Ministry of Home Affairs has announced that effective July 4th 2021, Belizeans will see the curfew strengthened in response to the recent surge of COVID-19 cases.
The nightly curfew will now be from 10PM-5AM (Sun-Wed) and 11PM-5AM (Thur-Sat). pic.twitter.com/CKa5nJqUZa
— Belize Politics 🇧🇿 (@belizepolitics) June 30, 2021
Other new Covid rules include cutting back religious services from two hours to one, while keeping the existing 50 percent capacity in churches.
Restaurants offering outdoor dining will continue operating at 75 percent capacity and 50% for those offering indoor dining. Indoor restaurants, however, can no longer operate unless they have a “free flow of air” and are “properly ventilated.”
Belize will become stricter about enforcing the rules, according to Musa. From July 4, justices of the peace will conduct random checks to ensure establishments are following the latest protocols. The same thing happened over Christmas and New Year, so they’re bringing it back.
“We will be calling on them again to now come in to the restaurants and other establishments so that we don’t have a continuation of the partying atmosphere,” he said.
He also spoke about Belize’s call centers and outsourcing offices, saying they too, would now be subject to 50 percent capacity.
Belize, Panama, and Honduras remain the only Central American countries with a curfew system during the pandemic. Costa Rica has vehicular restrictions instead of a curfew, while El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala have neither.
So far, just over 20 percent of Belizeans have received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine.
This week, the CDC in the United States raised Belize’s Covid travel alert status from Level 1 (low risk) to Level 2 (increased risk).
Belize now sits with El Salvador at Level 2. Guatemala, Honduras, and Panama remain at Level 3 (high risk), and Costa Rica and Panama are still at Level 4 (very high risk).
Belize reopened its land borders in May, the last country in Central America to do so. The government has given no sign that it’s planning to close them again. It should be noted, though, that only foreign tourists – not Belizean citizens – can enter the country by land at the moment.
The entry requirements governing tourists in Belize remain the same. You need a negative covid test or proof of vaccination to enter the country, and you need to stay at “Gold Standard” hotels. Gold Standard means a hotel with government-approved health protocols in place.
— Belize Tourism Board (@belizevacation) May 11, 2021
James Dyde is the editor of centralamerica.com. He lives in Escazu, Costa Rica.