No Movement Sunday – the first in Belize’s history takes effect on September 26. Just in case you are confused the Police Commissioner says that the no movement regulation applies to the entire country. But while it is applicable countrywide there are many grey areas including the concept where if you are returning home from a leisure weekend at a hotel or resort then you are allowed to travel back home on Sunday; with the condition that you can show proof at the check points that you were checked in at a hotel. According to Police Commissioner there will be enforcement but there is also the hope that Belizeans will take the regulation seriously and not find loopholes to go visiting friends and relatives to socialize.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “The non movement Sundays applies across the country. There is absolutely no exception as it relates to the four destinations that were allowed to have curfew at two hours later compared to the rest of the country and those four destinations are San Pedro, Caye Caulker, Hopkins and Placencia. So we’re seeing that many Belizeans are rushing to these destinations with the hope that because they are going to be at these destinations that they will be able to move around on Sunday while the other parts of the country will stand still. And so I just want to make it clear that the no movement Sundays goes across the board and again the only businesses that are going to be allowed to operate on those two no movement Sundays are fuel stations, pharmacies, grocery stores, medical and veterinary institutions, businesses that provide public transportation so the busses and the boats etc, hotels and resorts for the purpose of serving guests as well as lodge and those other places of similar style. And so any other businesses will not be allowed to open on that day. Now there are certain category of persons who may work at these establishments who need to get to work on Sundays and so those persons likewise will be allowed to move to and from work. We trust that Belizeans are going to take it seriously and do not try to mislead the police to get from point a to point b to go and commit acts that may breach or contravene the regulations. And so the police may question you to show that you have money to go and buy and again it cannot be that you’re asking or you are seeking permission to go to the grocery store to go and buy things like fonto, alcohol, those are non essential the thing is that you move on that day for essential reasons and so yes you’re going to the grocery store to buy groceries, to buy water, and these sort of things that are essential to human existence then you will be allowed but if you’re going to buy things that are non essential then the police will not allow you will be turned back home.
Police Commissioner went on to tell the media that there could not be a complete shutdown on Sunday as there are essential services including medical personnel, security guards among others. Furthermore anyone found making non-essential movements will be given a ticket and fined five hundred dollars. As it relates to other conditions and exceptions, the Police Commissioner spoke on the provisions for restaurants saying that those establishments not attached to a hotel or resort would not be allowed to open.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “I would want to think that the restaurants that are not attached to a hotel are not going to be allowed to opened. It is only those that are attached to the hotel and to cater for their guests. Now yes a person who might not be a guest at the hotel or resort may wish to go and purchase food from that restaurant. In those instances then the food must be to go. It cannot be to consume on the premises. Taxi stands will not be allowed to be open on that day and so yes while taxi operators maybe allowed to operate they must operate based on calls and the calls must be essential. If they are being called for a non essential service they must decline that employment. Again only essential movements will be permissible. If you have a vegetables shop yes you can open and sell vegetables but to go on the street and sell no. I don’t think the market is going to be open no.”
In addition to establishments allowed to operate on the no-movement Sunday are tortilla factories and bakeries.