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Belizean tourism workers feeling the pinch from Covid-19 hysteria

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Posted: Tuesday, March 17, 2020. 2:33 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: Breaking Belize News can confirm that several resorts in Western Belize and San Pedro Ambergris Caye have started laying off workers, particularly seasonal, non-essential employees.

Our newsroom has received several calls from concerned Belizeans sharing their frustration of being left without a job and having to find others means of survival to provide food for their families and pay their bills.

Some of the distressed callers we spoke to shared similar stories of piling bills for necessities such as water, rent, electricity and in some cases, medical bills for families with bed-ridden relatives.

Belize’s preparation in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic has intensified and took a turn for the worst when hoteliers and tour operators began to experience massive cancellations due to heightened international travel measures to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow, in a joint press conference with the Opposition Leader on Monday, said that government will seek to pass a General Appropriation Bill to allow 25 million dollars in relief fund for the tourism sector.

“The better course of action is to pass the General Appropriations Bill and to add to that by way of an additional allocation that we would propose when we reach the committee stage of another 25 million dollars that would be earmarked especially and exclusively for the underpinning of our economic response to the effects of the COVID-19 crisis, that will be used principally as a relief for employees affected by the crisis especially those in the tourism industry. Now that’s going to be borrowed money the Central Bank is in a position, in fact, to provide on a loan basis those additional funds to the government,” Barrow stated.

Notwithstanding, the measures taken by the Government of Belize, workers are now feeling helpless and are pleading to the relevant authorities to provide some kind of assistance or program for those most affected to be able to access it.

 

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