Posted: Wednesday, July 1, 2020. 10:11 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: Belize’s first period of state of emergency as an independent nation expired at midnight this morning.
However, certain activities remain governed by statutory instruments numbers 94 and 95 of 2020 as it relates to COVID-19.
In a social media post this morning, Commissioner of Police Chester Williams detailed the main points of the new regulations.
S.I. 94 covers entry and exit and the state of affairs is that all ports of entry are closed (the Philip Goldson International Airport is not expected to reopen until August 15).
Provisions, said Williams, “are made for persons to enter or exit the country under certain circumstances, such as a Belizean or Permanent resident returning home after seeking medical attention or leaving to seek medical attention abroad, for cargos by way of sea, land or air, students returning home after receiving approval and repatriated Belizeans or permanent residents after receiving approval to enter.”
Those still leaving and entering illegally will be jailed on conviction for two months. Every person who enters the country whether legally or illegally shall be subject to be tested by the Ministry of Health and be quarantined for a period of time to be determined by the quarantine authority.
S.I. 95 enforces wearing of face masks and social distancing regulations for the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 in public spaces.
Exceptions are provided for children under six years of age; religious leaders and church choirs while in a church; exercising and riding motorcycles and bicycles; diving; while in a restaurant eating; in private residences and during sporting activities.
You are not exempt from wearing masks or other face coverings while in transit on public transportation, in a bar, in a work environment; in a church except for the preacher and choir as previously mentioned. Violations carry a fine of $5,000.
Exceptions to social distancing apply in private residences; in restaurants, bars, casinos and similar establishments among people from the same party; discos and nightclubs; churches and other places of worship; public transport; swimming if in the same party; and during sporting activities.
There are no longer prescribed opening hours for business and Government agencies; these revert to normal except for those advertised.
Williams concludes, “Again I ask that we comply with these requirements as they are put in place to protect us. Thanks to all for your support of our department so far as we battle this unseen evil that threatens our way of life. I ask for your continuous support.”
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