Posted: Sunday, May 3, 2020. 12:55 pm CST.
By BBN Staff: Statutory Instrument no.65 came into effect on May 1, effectively relaxing some of the restrictions imposed by the State of Emergency; however, much of the restrictions remain as the COVID-19 threat is still a pressing issue in Belize and the region.
The SI allowed for an expansion of approved businesses which can be open and for these businesses to remain open until 7 p.m.; an expansion of the allowed morning exercise activities to include cycling; and extended the time for children under 16 to be allowed on the street from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., provided that they are with an adult and in transit to their home. The SI also instituted a mandatory requirement for anyone in a public space to be wearing a mask.
Businesses that were added to the list of those allowed to open include: hardware stores; domestic workers including gardeners, yardmen, and other domestic services; professional services such as law offices, engineering firms, and chartered accountants; beauty salons for hair and nail services only, barbershops, car-washing and detailing services; laundromat services, and hotels.
While these businesses are now allowed to open, barber and salon services must be by appointment only and only two customers (the one being served and the next consecutive appointment) are to be in the establishment along with the barbers or beauticians. Spas are also restricted from doing treatments such as massages and facials. Additionally, customers must practice social distancing and be wearing masks. Hotels are only allowed to serve local guests.
Section 10 of the SI reads, “For the avoidance of doubt, the following establishments shall remain closed until further notice for the purposes of preventing, controlling, containing and suppressing the spread of the infectious disease COVID-19– (a) casinos and gaming
establishments; (b) spas; (c) gymnasiums (gyms), sporting complexes; (d) discotheques, bars, rum shops, and night clubs.”
Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte, explaining the new rules, noted that street food vendors and clothing stores (unless they are the official providers of clothing to a government office or essential services) are not allowed to open at this time. Police Commissioner Chester Williams also noted yesterday that cosmetic stores are also to remain closed.
All other restrictions such as the closure of the country’s borders, the closure of the international airport, and restricted travel between districts which were covered in previous iterations of the SOE regulations, remain intact.
Breaking Belize News (BBN) joins with authorities in asking the public to comply with the regulations and notes that failure to do so could result in a spike in newly-confirmed COVID-19 cases, which would land the country into a state of complete lockdown and undo all the progress made thus far.
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