Last night, the Belize Tourism Board released the latest version of the Belize Travel Regulation for the re-opening of the International Airport to visitors on October 1st. There is no restriction on which countries’ citizens can visit Belize but there are regulations on entry as well as a “safe corridor” for visitors. The movement of tourists will be restricted during this first phase of re-opening.
I know the big question…I can hear you asking it now. When will the next phase commence? When will visitors be able to…visit…and be un-restricted – free to leave the hotel and explore Belize at will.
Here is the Travel App as downloaded on Apple App store.
And the tourism corridor – I no longer see mention of the tracking monitors that were originally proposed…and that’s a good thing.
Flights to the country are limited for the first month of the re-opening to:
American Airlines: One flight a Day, Miami to Belize, Thursdays – Sundays
United Airlines: One flight a Day, Houston to Belize, Friday, Saturday and Sundays
And has been reported that they are sold out for the first week of October. We don’t know the break-down of that. I can assume that many of these travelers are Belizeans and expats/homeowners/investors returning to the country. Protocols for those who plan to stay in Belize are different (including mandatory quarantine) than those who are here for just a visit.
If you are on these first flights, you are the first ones to test this system. So…I’d expect a bit of a wait.
So…when will the next Phase of Belize’s re-opening start?
We have not heard a date or even the criteria that will go into this decision but I have done some thinking…and there are a bunch of factors at play. Let me know what you think….
Here are my 3 factors that will be considered in the announcement of Phase 4 Re-Opening (let’s call it “total reopening”) of Belize (they are NOT ranked by importance and, as always, these are my opinion):
- Timing/The Holidays: The Belize Tourism season does not REALLY start until late December. There is a bump for Thanksgiving but the beginning of December is quite slow for tourism and then it JUMPS. Christmas/New Years’ week is one of the busiest of the year. There is NO way (barring a MASSIVE jump in infection) that the Belize Tourism Board could keep the tourism industry closed to the majority of those it represents and collects taxes from. CONCLUSION from this: Phase 4 must start by Dec 15th.
- Belize’s General Election: The Prime Minister has indicated that our general election will be called for the beginning of November. Many voters come from Guatemala and from the US to vote. This would mean a re-opening of the land borders. CONCLUSION from this: Phase 4 must start by Nov 1st. (An interesting – to me – note…we had a bit of a kerfuffle yesterday – there was a new set of regulations/laws announced requiring the Director of Health Services to release the names of those COVID positive to the Ministry of Defense or it would be considered a crime/felony. It was reported mid-day that our beloved Dr Manzanero – the Director of Health Services had resigned over this…and then reported a bit later that he was back. I’m not sure what to make of this…but one might think that politics is at play. It’s not just the US…)
- Infection rates in Belize after limited re-opening October 1st: Right now Belize has slowed the rise of COVID but it is still on the rise. Certainly, our Ministry of Health will be monitoring the rise of infection and deaths to see if there is a jump from the re-opening. Masks in Belize are the law. Social distancing mandatory. Significant measures are in place to keep this in check. One Note: MANY people come back and forth across the Mexico and Guatemala borders with Belize…thousands a day? To implement testing/tracing/quarantining at the borders would be a monumental task… CONCLUSION from this: Unknown
Could the GOB break Phase 4 down into sub-parts? Could the land borders open and the tourist “safe corridor” remain in place?
As will all things in this phase, it is very very fluid. And a bit last minute. We shall see…
But do know that ALL of Belize is watching this re-opening and praying for total success on every level. So many things depend on it.