Belize has announced that Belize’s sole international port of call, Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE), is due to open from August 15th, 2020 as part 5 of the countries reopening process after coronavirus, for the first time since shutdowns began in the region in March.
Belize has had minimal cases of Covid-19 (less than 50 confirmed cases as of the writing of this article). The country benefits from being off the mainstream tourism and travel paths, having a small population of only 360,000 that is relatively spread out, and has only a few major ways into the small country, which allows for more complete screening of all who enter the country.
But what will this mean for tourists wishing to visit Belize after August 15, and what restrictions will still be in place?
The government of Belize have released the following policies and guidelines for tourists wishing to enter the country from August 15th onwards;
- All passengers traveling to Belize will be required to 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 the passenger and will be used for contact tracing while in Belize if that is necessary.
- Passengers are required to take a Covid PCR test within 72 hours of travel to Belize. For those who do not have a valid test result, they will be quarantined for 14 days or until they can have one done in country (so come with your papers!)
As a part of the pre-travel process, the passenger should start by booking their flight and hotel. Opening of hotels will be in a phased approach, and 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 the need 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.
- Passengers that provide certification of a negative test result from a coronavirus PCR test done within 72 hours of travel, will be allowed immediate entry into Belize via a ‘fast track’ lane.
- Passengers that do not provide a negative Covid-19 test, must test upon arrival in Belize, at the passenger’s expense. A negative test result will allow you immediate entry into Belize.
- Passengers who test positive for Covid-19 at the Belize International Airport will be placed in mandatory quarantine for a minimum period of fourteen (14) days at the passenger’s expense.
All visitors to Belize will be required to:
- Wear a mask during the entire landing, deplaning and arrival process, and while inside the airport – and remember, the mask goes over your nose, too!
- Undergo temperature checks using non-contact digital infrared thermometers or thermal imaging cameras.
- Adhere to social distancing guidelines in all queues for health checks, immigration and customs inspections.
- Follow and respond to the comprehensive, pro-active, contact tracing guidelines to facilitate appropriate and rapid response from health officials, should Covid-19 symptoms develop.
- Utilize the sanitizing stations to sanitize hands frequently and facilitate other health screening requirements on arrival.
At the Airport:
Philip Goldson International Airport has implemented enhanced cleaning and sanitization protocols. These include:
- Installation of barriers and sneeze guards between passengers and Immigration & Customs officers
- Hand sanitizing stations throughout the terminal building to assist with proper hand hygiene
- Floor markers placed 6 feet apart to promote social distancing and assist passengers in the queuing process
- Sanitization of passenger luggage prior to transfer into the terminal building.
Residents and visitors departing from Belize will also see new enhanced health and safety measures implemented. Some of these new measures include:
- Limiting entry into the terminal building to only ticketed passengers
- Mandatory use of face masks at all times while in the terminal building
- Safety barriers installed at check-in counters and the Immigration area
- Social distancing to protect passengers
How easy will it be to travel to Belize?
As you will see when you visit Belize, whilst the rules are pretty strict, they do allow unfettered access to tourists wishing to visit the country. The requirement that visitors will need to have negative result from a COVID-19 test may be a minor inconvenience, but for the time being it the way the travel industry will be moving in this Coronavirus world.
How will this affect the Lets Buy An Island project and Coffee Caye?
In late 2019 LetsBuyAnIsland.com purchased Coffee Caye in Belize in an idyllic location not far from Belize City and BZE Airport, and whilst we have visited on numerous occasions, since the worldwide pandemic began we have been unfortunately unable to return as we have wanted to. We had planned a party on the island for later this year for our investors and friends, but this was obviously cancelled as more pressing problems spread around the world.
No one can predict the future, particularly when you factor in the possibility of a second wave of the virus, but we are confident this should mean we are able to move forward with raising finance for our project and indeed in to visit and develop the island as a resort in the days ahead of us.
With the reopening of Belize, we are seeing the first steps towards returning to “normal” in our new home, and we are excited to have you join us (safely)! We hope you will want to visit and support the beautiful country of Belize and all that it has to offer!
Do you have any questions about visiting Belize, Coffee Caye, or the new rules put in place? Contact us!