Belize To Require Covid Vaccines for Public Spaces

by Carolee Chanona

More cities and companies — from Paris to New York, from Disney to Fox Corp. — are issuing vaccine requirements of one sort or another, paving the way for others to follow. And now Belize follows with its newest intended rule announced by the destination’s Ministry of Health & Wellness: a COVID vaccine or a negative PCR test is to be required to enter any public building as of October 1.

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Kukumba Beach. Old Belize Adventure requires at least one vaccine dose, or recent negative COVID test, to enter. Image courtesy of property.

Public buildings refer to any building or business the public legally has access to, with the exception of their private homes. A second option is for the public to enter any public building in Belize is to present a PCR test taken within ninety-two hours, or a rapid test was taken within forty-eight hours.

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Placencia beach. Image courtesy Dylan Hetelle/Muy’Ono Resorts

With the surge of incredibly contagious COVID-variants, popular tourist destinations in the Caribbean — including Belize — are faced with an unpredictable, complex, and serious challenge to balance protecting citizens and keeping travel seamless. According to a Time/Harris poll conducted in March, more than half (52%) of vaccinated respondents indicated their decision was influenced at least in part by the desire to travel.

At the time of writing, Belize’s only entry requirement for all travelers is a negative COVID-19 test.

How Guyana Became The First in CARICOM To Issue A Vaccine Requirement

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Tallest wooden structure in Georgetown, Guyana. Photo by Dinesh Chandrapal on Unsplash

The Guyanese Government has become the first in Caricom to issue a vaccine requirement for her citizens. Guyanese nationals wishing to enter any public buildings, including banks, restaurants, supermarkets, schools, etc, are required to show proof they have been vaccinated. This became effective Saturday, September 4, 2021. Those who refuse to be vaccinated are required to have a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test done every week. Nationals who exercise the option not to be vaccinated will have to spend up to US$40 for a PCR test every week. They will have to keep on their person a negative result in order to enter establishments.

What Caribbean Countries Require Vaccines As An Entry Requirement?

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Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young speaks with officials during a tour of the Piarco International Airport yesterday, ahead of the opening of the borders. Image by Abraham Diaz/Trinidad & Tobago Guardian

At least seven Caribbean nations and territories have announced mandatory vaccination policies for incoming adult travelers — Anguilla, Grenada, St. Barts, St. Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, as well as the Cayman Islands. The Cayman Islands plan to admit vaccinated travelers from Sept. 9 to Oct. 13 during the third phase of its structured reopening. Thereafter, the territory may let unvaccinated travelers enter if they quarantine for 14 days.

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