August 15th: A Regulated Re-Opening of Belize Airport + Sahara Dust Plume

he Prime Minister of Belize held a press conference today, Thursday, June 25th at 10 am…well actually 10:20.  They are reliably 20 minutes late.  The topic?  THE TOPIC!  The way forward for Tourism in Belize during the global pandemic.

These are my notes – you can watch the press conference yourself on the Facebook page:  Government of Belize Press Office

After INTENSE debate, not an easy decision:  The Re-Opening Date for the International Airport is AUGUST 15, 2020 but Belize is not just throwing open the doors…

  • The rate of increase in the US, particularly Florida, is alarming
  • Any delay will give us little from a safety standpoint
  • All people coming in will be tested, guiding principle is the safety of our country
  • PM expects a “trickle” of tourism – this will allow us to get in a better position to deal with future flow
  • American Airlines said that if we didn’t open by August 18th, they could not insure service for this year
  • “It was time to go”
  • “No way we are going to open the land borders anytime soon”

How do we mitigate risks?

  • they have been testing and fine-tuning with recent repatriation flights
  • We will CONTINUE to fine-tune up to August 15th
  • Continue to social distance, mask-wearing, public safety/mitigation measures – critical “first measures”  (If you have “constitutional issues with wearing a mask, then don’t come to Belize” – our first desire is to protect our population.  Masks are a “no brainer”)

Karen Bevans of the Belize Tourism Board – Highlights and Process of Tourism Re-Opening Plan

  • Phase One:  May 15th:  Domestic Travel and Repatriation to Belize
  • Phase Two:  June
  • Phase Three:  August 15th – all travelers to Belize will be required to download App before boarding flight to Belize (contact tracing)
  • If YOU the passenger presents a NEGATIVE result of a PCR test taken within 72 hrs of arrival…you can fast track thru arrivals/customs
  • If a passenger has NO PCR test etc… they will be Tested with a Rapid Test on Arrival at the airport. If Passenger comes back Positive, they will be quarantined for 14 days at their own expense.

I will post all information when it is posted for all…here is a screenshot from the press conference now.  It seems that Hotels with ALL Amenities on-site will open first.

Process

But at this point, it seems like it is only “all-inclusive type hotels” that can open.  And that hotel guests would have to stay on property?  How would that work in Caye Caulker or Placencia?  A vacation in Belize should be the antithesis of an all-inclusive holiday.  The fun is exploring the town and the restaurants and the different swimming spots…not staying at one resort.

Whoever said “Stop trying to be the next Cancun or Playa, you can’t compete.  Focus on being the “Best Belize” was spot on.  The “Best Belize” is the best place in the world.

See more details in the San Pedro Sun’s article today.

I am assuming that more information re: the specifics of the hotels that can/can’t open and the protocol there will be announced tomorrow…

SAHARA DUST PLUME

And in other headlines, the skies of Belize have been muted by an epic Sahara Dust plume.

Sure…why not?  A worldwide flu pandemic.  A “rolling emergency” of locusts decimating large swaths of Africa and Asia (this article on how grasshoppers turn into a locust plague is super interesting to me)…and now a 50 to 60-year Saharan dust storm.

From what I have read this is not a plague…it actually suppresses tropical storms and fertilizes the Amazon and sea creatures.  It’s miraculous what effect the Sahara Desert…about 5000 miles from Belize…has on us.

Here are some pictures from this morning around the island…but first, let me take my allergy pill.

Here’s my neighbor’s dock at 9 miles north Ambergris Caye.  Check out their gorgeous house which is for sale.  Dreamy.

It’s like the world has gone black and white.  Or black and beige.

Dust Storm Belize

And here’s another before and after down south at La Gran Casa Azul.

I stayed there almost 6 years ago!

Lastly…as if you didn’t have enough…my dog walk this morning with MoMo and Franny.

Dust Storm Ambergris Caye

I think I have this photo is every weather condition we can experience here.

Sun.

Menacing Clouds.

Painting of Beach

It’s even been painted!  Check out Terry Fowler Art and Design on Instagram.

With dogs, with Jeff, without dogs…I’ll leave it at that!

Have a great Thursday all and stay safe!





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