The Government of Belize has approved the opening of the maritime borders to accommodate yachting tourism. A release late this eveing from the Belize Press Office noted that there are conditions to the reopening as the Port Authority Act makes it mandatory that a licensed shipping agent is needed to enter the vessel with the authorized maritime ports of entry being San Pedro, Belize City and Placencia. In addition, a 72-hour notice is required for entry to all sister agencies including Immigration, Public Health, Tourism, Customs, and BAHA. As it relates to the Covid-19 protocols, all public health safety protocols related to Covid-19 remain in effect. A negative Covid test is required to enter Belize. Crew/passengers must take a test before their arrival in Belize. A PCR test can be taken up to 72 hours prior to arrival and a Rapid Antigen test up to 48 hours prior to arrival. While the government has made the decision on the maritime border, Prime Minister Briceno says the western border is another story. Love News asked him whether the government would consider on the backdrop of Guatemalans’ planned protest for Monday, February 15 to have the western border reopened.
Hon. John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: ” I could appreciate the political pressure that he finds himself with and hopefully it makes him understand just like our friends in Mexico, in Chetumal, how important we are to their economy but the reality is that we just cannot be travelling freely right now because of COVID and until we have that fully under control I don’t see us opening up the border just freely so that people can come in and out as they wish. I wish the people from Melchor de Mencos well you know I understand the political pressures there may be but we are a sovereign country and we are going to do what we believe is in the best interest of Belize at this time because COVID is still not under control. It is not in the interest of the country to open up our borders, for people to be moving in and out and the land borders that’s why we did the airport but we made sure that we have some serious controls as to how you come in and leave; as you come in they test you to ensure that we can control COVID as best as we possibly can until we can get the vaccines into the country.”
In an interview with Melchor de Menco Mayor, Amado Yanis, several market vendors have had to shut down their business following the closure of the border.