Here’s a brief recap of the past six months as it relates to Covid’s impact on travel to Belize. Now, the Caribbean country of Belize prepares to reopen for leisure travel on October 1.
March 23: Belize closes the Phillip Goldson International Airport upon announcing the country’s first case of COVID-19. With two active cases on Ambergris Caye, the island saw a state of emergency for no entry or exit. In the days to come, Belize would receive twenty-three Cuban frontline medical personnel to offer medical assistance and trainings. All land and air borders of Belize closed. Belize implemented a national curfew from 8:00 pm to 5:00 pm.
A Tentative July Reopening Date
May 6: All 18 of Belize’s active COVID-19 cases recover, making Belize one of a handful of countries COVID-19 FREE. By May 16th, controlled repatriation of displaced Belizean citizens and residents abroad begin, which includes a mandatory government-facilitated quarantine. On May 14, Prime Minister Dean Barrow hinted at tentative plans to reopen Belize’s airport on July 1; that is, contingent on containment of the coronavirus. On May 29, the international airport was confirmed to remain closed until mass rapid testing became available; Belize also raised the principal condition that travelers would need to present a negative COVID-19 PCR Test result within 72 hours of travel alongside the Belize Health App.
Enhanced Health & Safety Protocols, Now for an August Reopening Date
By June 19: Belize goes 53 days without reporting a new coronavirus case; the 19th case of COVID-19 controlled repatriation process on June 5. The Belize Tourism Board finalizes health and safety protocols for reopening with its ‘Gold Standard Recognition Program‘ for the tourism sector. On June 25 via virtual press conference, Prime Minister Dean Barrow confirms the Philip Goldson International Airport will reopen on August 15 for leisure travel. Within, Belize also outlines its exit strategy from lockdown with a 5-Phased Travel Reopening Plan, which listed Belizean repatriation as Phase 2 followed by Leisurely Air Travel as Phase 3.
By July 23: Enhanced health and safety protocols are released for Tour Operators as the sector prepares to reopen. Additionally, its Tourism Safe Corridor is established as the first grouping of hotels allowed to open of Belize’s Phase 3. All passengers without proof of a negative PCR Test, taken within 72 hours of travel, will be tested. A rapid test in the Belize airport will be a US$50 health screening fee, as confirmed on July 24 by BTB and BHA. Additionally, the airport’s newly constructed health clinic in Terminal 2 hosts eight independent testing rooms are for health screening. Belize’s testing and quarantine are both at the traveler’s expense.
Local Containment Effort Delays Belize’s Reopening Date to October
August 5: But following an uptick in local Covid-19 cases, Belize decides to postpone its August 15 airport reopening. One week later, Belize reintroduces a nine-hour nightly curfew to curb the spread of the coronavirus, with a lockdown of Ambergris Caye. Wіth thе ехроnеntіаl іnсrеаѕе оf саѕеѕ frоm 57 tо 356 іn thе lаѕt ten days, thе Рrіmе Міnіѕtеr аnd hіѕ аdmіnіѕtrаtіоn іѕ, unhарріlу, ѕаtіѕfіеd thаt а реrіоd оf рublіс еmеrgеnсу ехіѕtѕ іn аll оf Веlіzе. Additionally, Belize revises entry requirements for Belizean citizens and residents returning after the airport reopening to include a mandatory PCR test on arrival, with a mandatory one-day quarantine to await results.
September 4: Belize lifts all emergency proclamations and its national curfew and prepares for landfall of Hurricane Nana, a Category 1 storm impacting the Southern Coast with minor damages. Just one week later, Belize updates its traveler classification and entry requirements for those arriving on or after Oct. 1, while advising that the Belize Health App is in process for public release on the App Store and Google Play.