The lockdown of the three northern villages has been officially lifted by the Government of Belize. The announcement came last night via a Statutory Instrument that signaled the lifting effective at midnight last night. The three villages that were affected are Santa Marta, Guinea Grass and Shipyard; all in the Orange Walk District. Residents of these areas had been clamoring for mercy within the last week, saying that the provisions were inadequate and that they needed to leave their homes to get money from the bank in order to get supplies for their homes. Today we spoke with Guinea Grass Village Chairman, Benito Uck who told us about the level of activity within the village this morning.
Benito Uck, Chairman, Guinea Grass Village: “Well we received the news last night. The reaction of the villagers they were asking okay if they will be free to traverse to Orange Walk and so forth I said yes because the government gave the direction to life the lockdown for Guinea Grass and not only for Guinea Grass but for Shipyard and Santa Martha. The only thing that the population is three thousand and the majority go to Belize so there is an issue right now some are happy some are not because they have been called by their boss informing them that they have to wait until government gives the okay that they can go back to work that is the only issue that some of them have that issue with their boss. So the majority we have already seen movement within the community where people from Orange Walk or other districts or other villages are traversing the community to go to Shipyard and Shipyard also to go to Orange Walk and so forth right now but like I said the opening is okay but some still stay in the village because they have to wait until the boss gives them the okay to go back to do the chores that they have to.”
Love News also spoke with Santa Martha Village Chairlady, Maria Soza. According to Soza there are mixed feelings among the residents as some are saying that they felt safer under a lockdown.
Maria Soza, Chairlady, Santa Martha: “For the most part everyone felt good. They felt happy that they could go out and buy their groceries, they could go out and do necessary things that they wanted to do but couldn’t because of the lockdown. Other persons commented that they felt safer when they were under the lockdown so they will wait one more week before going out. The idea now is not for us to go out because they lifted the lockdown but for us to go out to buy necessary supplies while still taking every precaution needed. The persons said that they won’t be going out for no reason only when needed. We need to continue practicing wearing a mask in public, social distancing, washing our hands and if we don’t need to go out we stay at home. I thank God that the persons that had COVID in Santa Martha are recovering well.”
Soza also mentioned that health officials from the Ministry of Health visited to community today to examine several persons that had the virus. The villages first went into lockdown on Friday, August 7. The lockdown came following several Covid-19 clusters that were uncovered in the areas coupled with the close connections with border jumpers.