Effective today, October 4, Belize ends its emergency restrictions in place since September 19. Read on for an outline of the changes going forward.
We admit it – we’re surprised! We thought the new Covid restrictions outlined by Belize Prime Minister Johnny Briceño on September 15 would roll on beyond today. In our experience, when a government lays down restrictions “for two weeks”, they tend to last a lot longer.
But no, today Belize updated the September restrictions to make life a little easier for people.
Gone is the 7:00 PM-4:00 AM curfew placed on the whole country except for the communities of San Pedro, Caye Caulker, Placencia, and Hopkins. From today, all Belize will revert to the 9:00 PM-4:00 AM curfew it had pre-September 19, that the said communities of San Pedro, Caye Caulker, Placencia, and Hopkins had the whole time.
Ministry of Health & Wellness Announces New COVID-19 Measures pic.twitter.com/42mrYwegSM
— Breaking Belize News (@belizemedia) October 4, 2021
Bars and restaurants to reopen for vaccinated customers.
The September 15 ruling also closed restaurants and bars from all services except for take-out, the exception being the communities of San Pedro, Caye Caulker, Placencia, and Hopkins, who could remain open for eat-in customers, as long as they respected rules on social distancing, masks, and hand washing.
But from today, according to the Ministry of Health and Wellness, restaurants, bars, and similar businesses can open up to fully-vaccinated customers only, as long as they stick to 50% of capacity. Restaurants with outdoor seating can open up to 75% of capacity, again for fully-vaccinated customers only.
It’s unclear how restaurants will police who’s vaccinated or not, and also unclear if restaurants in San Pedro, Caye Caulker, Placencia, and Hopkins need to adhere to the vaccinated-only rule for its customers, after being allowed to open for everyone over the past two weeks.
Some restrictions put in place last month will stay around, though. At least for the time being.
Churches and casinos remain closed, and all contact sports stay prohibited. Regarding the no-move Sunday rule, where no-one could leave their homes on Sundays, it’s unclear. The government mentioned nothing about this today. We assume no-move Sunday is over, but don’t take that to the bank just yet.
In updated COVID-19 measures, the Government of #Belize adjusts the national curfew back to 9 PM, reopens dine-in services to fully vaccinated persons only, and makes no mention of restricting movement on Sundays.https://t.co/sjeR1wHTki pic.twitter.com/k1PeN6BQLw
— Caribbean Culture + Lifestyle: Belize (@caribbeanbelize) October 4, 2021
Last month, Belize Health Minister Michel Chabet also announced sweeping new changes to begin in October regarding vaccinated-only people entering public buildings.
The whole thing seemed a little weird at the time, as after Chabet’s TV announcement, where he said no unvaccinated people could enter any public building in Belize, including stores, restaurants, and public transport, nothing happened. No-one backed up his words, least of all Prime Minister Briceño.
Belize was left in some kind of limbo, wondering what will happen.
Well, it turns out it’s only government buildings affected by this ruling. Private businesses need not worry about this (for now). Government employees working in these public spaces need to be vaccinated, or to present the negative results of a Covid test every two weeks.
Government buildings are open to the public by appointment only, and non-vaccinated visitors need to provide a negative Covid test to attend their appointments.
October updates on the Belize Covid Coaster. Grocery stores are being closed this Sunday and neck gaiters are being banned. I have also included numbers and info on the recent vaccine mandate decision.https://t.co/NpgZeRiAVE
— tacogirl blog belize (@tacogirl) October 2, 2021
James Dyde is the editor of centralamerica.com. He lives in Escazu, Costa Rica.