Updated January 4th to include recent increase in COVID positives in Belize and language/meaning in Belize behind the CDC’s “Recovery Note from A Doctor”
Omicron is on the rise in the US and in Europe and in other parts of the world. I know you know this. And many of us are sick of talking about, thinking about, hearing about COVID-19 – I get it! – but if you are traveling internationally – there are restrictions and mandates you need to know. And before you jump on that plane, it’s best to know exactly what they are.
Here’s an overview of how it works in Belize – with links to get more information. I don’t want anyone to be underprepared or caught off-guard when traveling to and from Belize.
**Addition January 4, 2022: At the very end of last week and over the NYE weekend, Belize saw a significant increase in COVID positives countrywide – you can see the counts on Belize’s Ministry of Health and Wellness Facebook page. You can view the historical link with the chart below.
Please note that Belize’s COVID rates have not shown the sharp increase recently like some countries (US, Canada) due to Omicron* The weekend numbers (released yesterday) show a significantly higher number of those being tested (this week is the HEIGHT of tourist season) and an increase in the positivity rate. You can take a look at Belize’s historical chart here. (And the USA for comparison) **some might insert the word “yet” in this sentence. You can see the active measures that Belize is currently taking to try to minimize COVID spread in the country. Belize has been quite aggressive about implementing measures to slow/stop COVID spread since the beginning of the pandemic. (You can see current restrictions on the Belize Tourism Board’s COVID information page under: Are there any restrictions on movement for tourists?)
If you are traveling to Belize from the US, you know that you are required to get a COVID test to enter the country. Here are the current requirements:
All travelers entering Belize at the Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA) will be required to present a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within 96 hours of arrival or a negative result from any approved Antigen Rapid Test (home testing kits are not accepted) taken within 48 hours of arrival. If no test is presented, a COVID-19 test will be administered at the airport for a fee of USD $50 per passenger. Children under the age of 5 years will not be required to present a negative test; but children 5 years and older will be required to present a negative test.***
But let’s talk about what happens if you test positive when you are in Belize. (This is geared towards USA-Belize travelers – because they make up the majority of visitors to Belize – remember that each country’s mandates are different)
All Travelers to The US Must Show A Negative COVID test OR A Recovery Note From a Doctor
All travelers – vaccinated or not-vaccinated, must show a negative COVID test (home-tests not allowed) before entering the United States. You will not be allowed to board the flight if you do not show the proper documentation.
*A recovery note from a doctor will also allow you to board an airline. In Belize, this means a 14-day isolation period and no fever, without the use of Tylenol or other similar drug, for the last three days.
For the most up-to-date information and all the specifics, see the COVID testing required For US Entry by the US State Department.
So…IF YOU ARE TRAVELING TO or THRU THE US (BACK TO THE US) – PREPARE TO PACK A NEGATIVE TEST!
If You Test Positive in Belize
If you show symptoms of COVID and/or don’t feel well while on vacation…or think that you’ve been exposed to COVID, immediately tell your Gold Standard lodging – the front desk, the rental manager, your resort manager. They have a plan.
There are testing sites around the country that can do a rapid test – some can even come to your residence – either during your stay (if necessary) or in the 24-hours before your flight. Again notify your point of contact person – they will help you with the process that each Gold Standard hotel/resort has in place.
And if you test positive – you will need to go into quarantine/isolation for up to 14 days. I have been told by resort managers that you can begin testing again on Day 5 – but count on being in isolation for about 8 to 14 days. (14 days is the amount mandated by the Belize Tourism Board – but hotel managers have told me it can be less if you test negative before the 14 days is up)
You are going to need to stay isolated in Gold Standard Lodging during your entire quarantine period/until you test negative – whether at your original lodging or at another approved Gold Standard Hotel that is currently accepting and able to house COVID positive guests.
Again, your Gold Standard Lodging has a COVID plan in place.
(For reference, this is the US only: CDC has just shortened the quarantine period for people who test positive but are asymptomatic from 10 days to 5 days with 5 additional days of masking)
Here are some additional questions you might want to consider.
Should You Buy Travel Insurance?
Ok…so I might test positive even though I’m vaccinated…and I might have to stay in Belize for an additional 14 days. Do I need to buy insurance? That’s a question only you can answer! But if you ever considered getting travel insurance before…this seems like the right time to do it! Review the policy to make sure your needs (COVID isolation/quarantine) are covered – call them if you have questions. Also, check any additional policies that you might have – on credit cards for example – you might be covered that way as well. Do the research before you go. Here’s a handy link to Forbes: Best Covid-19 Travel Insurance Plans Of January 2022
What If There Is An Emergency and I NEED to Get Home?
If you test positive and need to get back to the USA, you can not get on a commercial flight. There are services/insurance companies that provide medical/emergency evacuation flights – do your research if this is important to you! Here is a detailed article about one such evacuation company/insurance plan.
So that’s that. Not a fun topic, I know but important.
Other things you might want to think about
Do you want to bring an extra few weeks of your important medication just in case? Or pack a little extra? You were thinking of leaving your laptop at home…who wants it on vacation….but…maybe you want to bring it in case? Maybe check ahead of your airlines’ cancellation policies and/or book using travel credit cards that might help with any adjustments and cancellations?
That’s all for now. Stay safe everyone and…vaccinations and boosters really are the key. I mean…we know that. 🙂
*** You can also wait until you arrive in Belize to test when you land – for $50US. This is not…the greatest idea. Because you can be asymptomatic positive, because you will immediately need to go into quarantine when the test comes out positive and…why ruin a vacation and potentially put others at risk?