Posted: Monday, June 22, 2020. 10:10 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) has announced a series of enhanced safety and health protocols for the tourist and accommodation industry, along with the Ministries of Health, Tourism and Civil Aviation intended to be met by all stakeholders in a post-COVID tourism era.
The nine-point program lists enhancing hotel and restaurant cleaning practices, social interactions, workplace policies, and standard operating procedures. These include enforced social distancing; use of face masks in public and installing hand hygiene and sanitization stations across the property.
Use of technology is encouraged for checking in and out, payments and ordering and booking to reduce physical interaction.
Training is expected to start next week.
A statement issued through McNab Publishing says “As more information resulting from ongoing medical research, or the risk related to Covid-19 reduces (or increases), these protocols will be reviewed and revised accordingly. With more than 40% of Belize’s GDP resulting from tourism, we recognize that the re-opening of our borders for tourism in a safe and controlled manner must be done using a phased approach.”
The Board is bullish on the return of growth in an industry that had seen plenty over the last decade and reiterated Belize’s commitment to health and safety for the industry, its workers, citizens, and guests, while promoting a one-of-a-kind vacation experience.
The BTB and McNab Publishing have also announced the merger of the Caribbean Lifestyle Belize Gold Book into the safety standards to create a new publication titled, “Tourism Health and Safety: The Gold Standard for Belize Travel.” This is expected to be widely distributed.
Meanwhile, Tourism Minister Manuel Heredia Jr. is feeling the heat from island rival Andre Perez, who according to Channel 7 News has castigated the Minister for not establishing an economic recovery plan for voters in San Pedro Town and Caye Caulker; they want details on how the recovery will work.
Perez writes that the Minister has been silent while his constituents have had to travel to the mainland for jobs and have no sense of direction with the ongoing crisis. He concludes that this lack of response is “unacceptable.”
San Pedro Town residents were the first two infected persons with COVID-19 in late March, prompting a state of emergency and lockdown of the island lasting almost a month as the country followed it into a national state of emergency in April.
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