Answers to MANY Questions About the August 15th Re-Opening
Yesterday I wrote a post about what the Caribbean and Central Americas countries re-opening or not re-opening. Two weeks ago, we got a set date – August 15th. But there are LOTS of restrictions and safety measures – and last night, we got the answer to many of our questions.
You can click thru to the BTB’s website for this and other older announcements.https://www.belizetourismboard.org/news-and-gallery/belize-covid-19-update/
COVID-19 Update for Travellers
Information provided by the Belize Tourism Board
In an effort to keep all travellers to Belize informed, we are providing the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 below. We do invite you to consider postponing, rather than cancelling your vacation, and visiting our beautiful jewel in the near future when these restrictions are reduced.
Kindly take note of our Frequently Asked Questions and all official updates from our Ministry of Health below to keep updated.
Are there any specific requirements that must be undertaken prior to my travel to Belize?
- Download the Belize Health App and complete the required information prior to boarding the flight to Belize.
- A QR code with a unique ID number will be returned to you, and will be used for contact tracing while in Belize.
- You are also encouraged to take a Covid PCR test within 72 hours of travel to Belize.
- Book a hotel in Belize that has achieved the Tourism Gold Standard Certificate of
- Recognition (refer to question #4 below).
Where can I find the Belize Health App?
The Belize Health App is not yet available for download. The App is required to be downloaded within 72 hours of your arrival in Belize. Once it goes live there will be official communication from the Government of Belize and the Belize Tourism Board on where the app can be found and instructions on how it should be used.
I do not have a smartphone/not travelling with a phone – how will I be able to register for the Belize Health App?
It is recommended that if you do not have a smartphone, that you download the app to a tablet and submit your information within 72 hours of boarding your flight to Belize.
Where can I find a list of all the countries approved for entry to Belize?
The Government of Belize (GOB) does not have any travel bans in place for visitors to Belize at this time. We encourage you to visit www.travelbelize.org regularly for updates on Covid-19, as the situation remains fluid.
What specific measures are being taken to protect visitors to Belize from contracting the virus?
A series of new enhanced health and safety protocols have been put in place to protect Belizeans, our communities, and our visitors. These include:
- Introduction of “Tourism Gold Standard” Recognition Program for hotels, restaurants and your operators. This 9-point program seeks to enhance the tourism industry’s health and safety standards by adapting new behaviours and procedures to ensure both employees and travellers are confident in the cleanliness and safety of Belize’s tourism product. Some of these new standards include:
- Enhanced health and safety protocols for:
- Social distancing and the use of face masks while in public spaces
- Online check-in/out, contactless payment systems, and automated ordering/booking systems
- Hand sanitizing stations across the property
- Enhanced room cleaning and increase sanitization of public spaces and high touch surfaces
- Daily health checks for guests and employees
- Designated ‘Isolation/Quarantine rooms’ for suspected Covid-19 cases and action plans for handling suspected employees or guests.
- Tours, Archaeological Sites & National Parks
- New capacity restrictions for all tourism sites to ensure social distancing can be maintained
- Smaller tour groups to provide a more intimate tour experience
- Sites and Parks to manage tours by appointment to limit the number of persons on site
- Enhanced sanitization of tour equipment
Although limited in scope, this phased approach allows for the industry to re-open responsibly, to test new entry protocols, and to allow for adjustments as necessary, to ensure the wellbeing of Belizeans and visitors. As the country re-opens for travel, Belize wants to assure travellers and residents that hotels and restaurants will be cleaner and safer than ever before.
Which airlines will provide service to Belize upon re-opening?
To date, three airlines have confirmed resumption of service when the international airport is reopened on August 15th:
- American Airlines – Miami to Belize, daily service
- United Airlines – Houston to Belize, 5 times per week
- Delta – Atlanta to Belize, 3 times per week
Will all hotels reopen when the airport opens on August 15th 2020?
No. When the airport reopens our hotels will be opened in a phased approach. The first grouping of hotels that will be allowed to open include properties that:
- have achieved the Tourism Gold Standard Certificate of Recognition, and
- provide full service to guests. This means that these hotels are able to provide all amenities, so as to contain the guest on the property, and minimize opportunities for guest interaction within the local community. These amenities include having transportation to offer pick-up/drop-off services from the airport; access to a restaurant on property; have a pool or access to beach front; and be able to provide isolated tours, limited to guests of the property only.
Travelers are therefore encouraged to book Gold Standard approved hotels. A list of the Gold Standard approved hotels will be available at www.travelbelize.org in the coming weeks.
If I am unable to take a PCR test prior to traveling to Belize, will I be required to test upon arrival?If so, what is the cost of the test?
Yes. All visitors travelling to Belize have the option to take a Covid-19 test within 72-hours of travel. Passengers who present a negative PCR test upon arrival, will be able to utilize the ‘fast track’ entry lane for much faster arrival processing.
Passengers who do not have a negative test will be required to undergo testing by the Ministry of Health upon arrival. This is at a cost to the passenger and the exact amount will be made available shortly.
If I test positive at the airport, will I be able to get a flight back out of Belize without having to be placed in quarantine?
No. All arriving passengers who test positive at the international airport will be placed in mandatory quarantine for a minimum of 14 days at the passengers’ expense.
What happens if I test positive for Covid-19 upon my arrival in Belize?
Passengers arriving to Belize who test positive for Covid-19 will be placed in an approved quarantine facility for a minimum of fourteen (14) days. Individuals must have two negative Covid-19 tests at the end of this period before they will be considered as ‘cleared’ from the virus. The cost of quarantine is the sole responsibility of the passenger. It is recommended that travellers explore the possibility of acquiring travel insurance prior to their Belize vacation.
If I do the test in Belize; how quickly are the results given?
Passengers arriving in Belize without a negative Covid-19 PCR test must undergo rapid testing upon arrival before entry to the country will be granted. Results can take anywhere from 15-30 minutes of taking the test, and the cost is at the passengers’ expense.
Will children (under 16 years old) be required to present a negative PCR test or be tested upon arrival as well?
Can groups who require the use of charter buses for their vacations continue to use this service?
Groups who require the use of a charter bus for transportation in country will need to arrange this with an approved Gold Standard tour operator. Arrangements can also be made with an approved Gold Standard Hotel.
Will returning Belizeans be required to go into the 14-day quarantine upon their return to Belize once the airport reopens?
No. Once the airport reopens on August 15th 2020, all returning resident Belizeans, has the option to take a Covid PCR test within 72 hours of travel to Belize.
If you are unable to provide a negative result of a Covid PCR test done within 72 hours before travel, you will be required to take a Covid-PCR test at the Belize international airport.
Belizeans who test positive upon arrival will be placed in mandatory quarantine for a minimum of 14 days at your expense.
Can families and groups traveling to Belize rent their own vehicles for their vacation?Does this mean that rental car companies would not be allowed to operate?
During phase 3 of reopening of the industry for international leisure travel, rental car companies will not be permitted to rent vehicles to international visitors. Transportation providers include approved Gold Standard tour operators, Gold Standard accommodations approved for phase 3 reopening, airport taxis, and the domestic airlines offering flights from the international airport.
If I test positive can I quarantine in my personal home?
No. All individuals who test positive upon arrival must quarantine in an approved quarantine facility for a minimum of 14 days at the passengers’ expense.
How do I get from the airport to my hotel; are there certified transportation providers?
Yes. Transportation providers include approved Gold Standard tour operators, Gold Standard accommodations approved for phase 3 reopening, airport taxis, and the domestic airlines offering flights from the international airport.
Upon arrival in Belize, what will the Immigration and Customs process entail?
Enhanced health and safety measures have been adapted to protect both officers and arriving passengers. Some of these measures include protective barriers to reduce contact between the officers and the passengers, kiosks for scanning of passports upon entry, luggage scanners in the Customs Hall, and safety barriers where inspection of luggage is required.
How long should I anticipate getting through arrivals?
If a negative PCR Covid test is produced upon arrival, you immediately proceed to the ‘fast track’ arrivals processing. Time varies depending on the result of your health screening, temperature screening, and test results.
If I am not booked at a Gold Standard Certified Hotel, can I still travel to Belize? If so, will I be required to go into quarantine?
During this initial phase of reopening (Phase 3) there will be a limited opening of hotels. Only approved Gold Standard recognized hotels will be permitted to accept international guests. These hotels will offer full service which means that the hotel is able to provide all amenities so as to contain the guest on the property, and minimize opportunities for guest interaction with the local community. These amenities include:
- having transportation to offer pick-up/drop-off services from the airport;
- access to a restaurant/bar on property;
- have a pool or access to beach front;
- on-site entertainment; and
- be able to provide isolated tours, limited to guests of the property only.
- A list of the Gold Standard approved hotels will be available at www.travelbelize.org in the coming weeks.
I plan on visiting Belize and staying in a condo; will condos be included in phase 3 of reopening for travel?
Different classifications of properties that meet the requirements will be approved to reopen during phase 3; this may include condos. We recommend that you visit www.travelbelize.org to see the list of properties approved for reopening.
Am I required to wear a mask; if yes where?
Yes. By law, all citizens and visitors to Belize must wear a face mask when in public spaces.
Is there a curfew?
No, not at this time.
Will I be able to explore Belize on my own, during this first phase of reopening?
During this first phase of reopening for international leisure travel, visitors will be able to visit tourism sites on tours with an approved Tourism Gold Standard tour operator. Tours to sites and parks can be arranged with your Tourism Gold Standard hotel.
Although limited in scope, this phased approach allows for the industry to re-open responsibly, to test new entry protocols, and to allow for adjustments as necessary to ensure the wellbeing of Belizeans and visitors. As the country re-opens for travel, Belize wants to assure travellers and residents that hotels, restaurants, and tour operations will be cleaner and safer than ever before.
Where do I find out which tourism sites are opened? How do I book a tour to these sites?
During this phase of reopening, visits to tourism sites can only be done through an approved tour operator. We recommend that you discuss which tours/sites you are interested in with your accommodation provider, to find out which tours are available, and they will assist you in booking these activities.
All visits to tourism sites and parks will be done on an appointment basis and all guests must be accompanied by an approved tour operator/guide.
What should I do if I start to exhibit symptoms during my vacation?
If you start to exhibit any Covid-19 symptoms, immediately notify your hotel’s front desk, and they will implement their Covid Response Plan.
If someone at the resort where I’m staying tests positive for COVID-19, would everyone be quarantined for 14 days?
This is dependent on the Ministry of Health’s contact tracing exercise. The hotel will utilize its communication plan to advise of any necessary steps to be taken.
If a guest becomes infected and requires an extension beyond their reservation dates, who pays for the extended stay? Are there any special provisions like discounted rates if the guest has to pay it?
Should a guest test positive upon arrival into the country or develop symptoms and be identified as having the virus while in country and require to be placed in quarantine, the cost of this is the sole responsibility of the guest. It is highly recommended that all travelers to Belize obtain travel insurance prior to departure in the event that they become sick while on vacation.
What if a family or group is traveling and 1 member of the party tests positive, will the entire party be quarantined for 14 days?
All members of the group will be tested, and based on the results of the test, quarantine of individuals will be determined.
Will spa services be allowed?
Yes. However, both providers and customers are advised to refrain from high contact treatments which involve the face, nose, and mouth such as facials, lip scrubs, etc. Approved Gold Standard accommodations will have safety protocols for this service.
Will visitors be allowed to go out to shop while in Belize?
Guests will be allowed to shop on property, while on approved tours at site gift shops, and approved accommodations are also encouraged to arrange visits from local artisans so that guests can access other souvenir options.
Do Belizeans living abroad have to stay in a Gold Standard hotel or can they stay with family members?
Belizeans living abroad can stay with family members. However, they must either present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of boarding the flight OR take a PCR test upon arrival.