The first announcement of COVID-19 in Belize brought about an awareness and submission by Belizeans as they relate to proper hygiene, social distancing, and the likes. The Government had begun shutting down the country by phases and restrictions on movements were made throughout the course of the last six weeks. May 1, which incidentally is Labour Day in Belize, saw the easing of these restrictions and the reopening of several stores and service providers. Via a document signed by the Governor-General today, those restrictions were eased even further as was explained by the Attorney General, Michael Peyrefitte.
Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, Attorney General: “The Minister of Health informed me this morning that we only have two active cases remaining and they’re within the same family so we are confident that we can expand the internal economy a little bit more in a safe way. But no matter what I say we must remember basic things that remain in place no matter how much we’re more relaxed as I see more movement in the country right now. There’s clearly a lot more movement in Belmopan, lot more movement in Belize City and all about. Well let me remind Belizeans the borders are still closed, you cannot enter or exit the country as per normal and if you do so illegally you will go to jail for three months in the first instance and a year for the second instance. You can’t even pay a fine if you breach the border rules the borders are still closed. Even though new laws are in place to make it even more relaxed the curfew is still in place. Come eight o’clock tonight everything shuts down until five in the morning, nothing changes that. Curfew for children still in place come 6pm this evening children have to be off the streets until eight in the morning again, that has not changed. So the borders are closed and the curfews are still in place. Masks at all times. As we start to move about more as we start to do more things and interact more everybody is required to wear a mask when you’re in a public place or a public space. If you’re in your car with people from your family I guess you can not have to wear it in the car with your immediate family and people that you know and live with but once you step out that car you must have one if you’re stepping out into a public place unless you’re going to leave your yard in the car, drive around and then just drive back into your yard I mean I don’t know what’s the purpose of that at point but if you’re in the car with your family you don’t need to put it on but when you step out that car you better have on the mask. So take a mask for everybody in the car just in case everybody has to step out the car. We must maintain social distancing at all times. Six feet apart as we are doing right now in the studio with your mask on that does not change, that does not change that remains in place. So borders are closed, curfew still in effect, masks at all times, social distancing at all times.”
As indicated by the Attorney General, there are some restrictions that remain in place including the curfews, the closure of the borders, and the practice of proper hygiene. With this new move by the Government, it simply means that some businesses could reopen but some cannot.
Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, Attorney General: “This is the law in terms of businesses, places of work. 5am to 7pm. Five in the morning until seven at night; fuel stations, fuel depots, LPG suppliers, LPG depots and LPG distributors. Agro Processors, food manufacturers and factories and manufacturers of carbonated and other beverages including spirits which is liquor and soft drinks. Agricultural and aquacultural farms, shrimp farms, agriculture farms. Fishing for livelihood and sustenance but not including sport fishing and leisure fishing. We still can’t sport fish, we still can’t leisure fish, only fish for livelihood and sustenance. Waste disposal and sanitation companies and auxiliary personnel. Productive sector industries, personnel and auxiliary workers which is the production of drinkable water and agricultural workers. Markets for produce, fish and meat. Public transportation providers. Construction and construction sites. Local manufacturers like welders and carpenters and stuff like that. Bakeries and tortilla factories. Those are the businesses that can open from five in the morning to seven at night. Very very important to understand what I will say next. Five to seven at night those businesses that I just said those are the ones that can open five to seven. All other businesses that did not fall into that category, all other businesses that did not fall into that category that I just said can now open from eight in the morning till seven at night. These are the businesses and activities that remain closed; casinos and gaming establishments, spas which means especially the ladies are limited to manicure, pedicure and hair that’s all you can do right now as we said last week no waxing no messages no facials and the like. Gymnasiums, sporting complexes remain closed. Discotheques, bars, rum shops and nightclubs remain closed. No street food vendors are allowed to operate on the street. You cannot put your tacos stand on the street and sell your tacos on the street. If you have that kind of business you have to prepare it on private property in your yard or in your kitchen or your home and people can then come buy and take it away but you cannot do any food activity on the street or in a public place; it must be done in a private place and people must queue up to take it away or you must deliver it.”
As Peyrefitte indicated, a mask should be worn by everyone who occupies public spaces or establishments.