FAQs on Travel to Belize during the COVID-19 Pandemic
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Belize has now had its first confirmed case - updated 24 March 2020
Updated: March 19, 2020
The Coronavirus (COVID -19) pandemic continues to be a rapidly evolving situation. Recognizing that tourism industry stakeholders and travellers are looking for answers, the BTB has compiled the following list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) aimed at responding to some of the most relevant questions with regards to the COVID-19 situation in Belize and its effects on travel.
1. WHAT IS COVID-19?
Coronavirus is a type of virus that causes respiratory illness — an infection of the airways and lungs. COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus. It’s part of the same family of coronaviruses that includes the common cold. The most common early symptoms appear between 2 and 14 days after being infected. Symptoms can be mild to severe. They include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
2. HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF AND FAMILY?
It’s still cold and flu season, and the same practices that stop the spread of these common illnesses are recommended.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Wash your hands with soap and water regularly for at least 20 seconds. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are also effective.
• Try not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
• Stay home when you’re sick (except to get medical care). Keep sick children home from school or day care.
• Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow. Wash your hands afterward.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
• Get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids, eat healthy foods, and manage your stress.
• Cover your mouth when you cough so you’re not exposing other people.
• If you are sick yourself, stay away from others. Contact your health-care provider ahead of time so you can be safely assessed.
3. WHAT IS THE STATUS OF COVID -19 IN BELIZE?
To date, there are NO confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Belize.
4. WHAT MEASURES IS THE GOVERNMENT OF BELIZE TAKING TO MITIGATE THE IMPACT OF COVID-19?
A COVID-19 National Oversight Committee, co-chaired by the Prime Minister of Belize, Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow and the Leader of the Opposition, Hon. John Briceño, along with a COVID-19 Task Force, were established to navigate the COVID–19 situation in Belize.
On March 16, 2020 The COVID-19 National Oversight Committee announced the following measures:
(a) Effective Friday, March 20th, all schools will be closed for 14 days which will lead right into the Easter break. Parents and students alike must continue to follow the Government’s advisories for social distancing and vigilance with hand-washing and good hygiene.
(b) Effective immediately, social gatherings will be limited to 100 people. These include indoor and outdoor gatherings. These numbers may be adjusted based on new developments.
(c) As of March 16, the Western and Southern borders and all other small border points will remain closed until further notice. Only the Santa Elena Border (northern border) and the Philip Goldson International Airport will remain open. This measure does not apply to cargo vessels.
The general public and tourism industry stakeholders have been strongly encouraged to observe the preventative measures and protocols sanctioned by the Ministry of Health, which are geared at curbing the possible spread of COVID-19 among our population.
In addition, the Ministry of health has introduced a toll free number, 0-800-MOH-CARE (0-800-664-2273), for all health-related inquiries.
5. ARE THERE ANY CURRENT RESTRICTIONS TO ENTER BELIZE?
At present, Belize is prohibiting entry into the country by nationals of the following countries and persons who have travelled within the last 30 days from:
Europe (including the United Kingdom)
6. ARE THERE ANY QUARANTINE MEASURES IN EFFECT?
All nationals coming from an area with ongoing transmission who land in Belize and appear with cold or flu-like symptoms will be placed under self-isolation upon arrival. ALL costs related to that will be the responsibility of the traveller.
For Belizeans returning from areas of active spread, your travel plan may include a 14-day self-quarantine.
Residents coming from areas with documented community spread of COVID-19 may be quarantined at their own expense upon arrival in Belize.
Any national arriving from China, Hong Kong, Iran, Japan, South Korea and Europe (including the UK) and from cities in the United States that have documented community spread will be placed under quarantine.
The Government is recommending all travellers coming to Belize purchase travel or health insurance for the length of their stay in the country.
For further information on COVID-19 or the country’s entry restrictions please contact the Ministry of Health at Tel: 501-822-2325, or free toll number 0-800-MOH-CARE (0-800-664-2273) or visit www.health.gov.bz
7. What is the status of flights to/from Belize?
Effective April 1st, 2020, United has announced that there will only be one daily afternoon flight from Houston.
Effective immediately, Avianca has suspended its operations to Belize at the direction of the Salvadoran government for fifteen (15) days in the first instance.
Effective, Sunday March 22nd, 2020 at 11:59pm, WestJet will be suspending flights to the US, Europe, Mexico, Caribbean, and Central America including Belize, for a period of 30 days in the first instance.
Air Canada will be temporarily suspending service from Toronto to Belize City from March 31st – April 30th, 2020.
8. WHAT IS THE STATUS OF CRUISE SHIPS COMING TO BELIZE?
The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) shares a common goal with the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) and Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) to provide the highest degree of safety and health for cruise ship passengers, crew and the destinations cruise ships visit; accordingly, it is imperative that we work together towards this outcome.
The Government of Belize has received official notification that ALL cruise lines calling on Belize have suspended operations for a period of thirty (30) days, in the first instance, as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
9. SHOULD I STILL PLAN A VACATION TO BELIZE?
Belize is a beautiful country with a vibrant kaleidoscope of natural attractions and friendly people that captivate the hearts of our visitors from around the globe. If you are looking for great fun, relaxation, lots of adventure, visits to historical Mayan sites, great food, friendly people and more, then Belize is your perfect vacation destination.
However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, governments across the globe have enacted a multitude of travel restrictions for their citizens, making travel to Belize difficult. We do invite you to consider postponing, rather than cancelling your vacation, and visiting our beautiful shores in the near future when these restrictions are reduced. We look forward to sharing all that our ‘Jewel’ has to offer with you!