As Belize prepares to reopen leisurely travel in a phased approach on October 1, there has been significant changes to its International Airport just in time for visitors. In order to meet the challenges presented by COVID-19 and reassure passenger confidence, the Belize Airport Concession Company Limited details much of its changes—not only safer travel, but a more efficient visitor process—you can find starting October 1.
NEW ADDITIONS TO THE AIRPORT
Most significantly, the Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport (PGIA) houses a new 1,900 sq ft Health Facility for COVID-19 testing on arrival to Belize; complete with its own waiting room, testing stations, laboratory, restroom and isolation room. Meanwhile, nearly 600 airport workers have undergone mandatory health training by Belize’s health authorities. On arrival, passengers will now enter the newly-constructed 2,200 sq ft air-conditioned corridor to complement the new Health Facility; Thermal Scanning equipment is expected to be installed at the entrance of the new corridor for arriving passengers for contactless health inspection. If you’re familiar with PGIA, then you’ll notice that the formed V.I.P. building has now been re-assigned to the Ministry of Health. Carousels in the Arrival Hall and Terminal 2 have also been re-located and extended, along with the completion of numerous works associated with the Airport Improvements Project 2019.
Additionally, the Immigration Hall is being fully re-modeled and extended, and immigration booths re-located for better processing of visitors and improved physical distancing. With commercial flights returning to Belize starting October 1, its Arrival Hall will host an x-ray machine for elevated passenger luggage processing by Customs officials. Not to mention, additional access to new restrooms with touch-less fixtures in the Arrival Hall is now available while a new Secondary Interview Office for Immigration is in construction. While sneeze guards have been installed on counters at check-in, departure gates, pre-boards, Customs and B.A.H.A., the construction of new Customs inspection and examination stations is well underway.
COVID-19 SIGNAGE & CUES
While there is a clear suggestion that terminal access is for ticketed passengers and staff only, this is further reinforced in signage across Belize’s international airport. That is, in addition to the cleaning and disinfection procedures; social distancing policies and control; face mask usage; sanitizer availability; standard and use of PPE by staff in the airport; and other hygiene applications. Meanwhile, over 40,000 square feet of terrazzo tiles have been cleaned and polished, now retrofitted with social distancing markers, floor decals, and sanitation mats at all entrances and exits of Terminals.
Inside, members of PGIA’s Crash Fire Rescue Unit will be conducting random temperature screening with F.D.A. approved handheld infrared forehead thermometers and enforce compliance of new health and safety protocols. On the other hand, O.R.I.S.A. continues its fumigation of arriving international carriers’ cargo bays. After all, the Philip Goldson S.W. International Airport includes the enhanced cleaning, disinfecting and fumigating, and amplified servicing of air-conditioning systems. This also includes the fumigation of arriving luggage.