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Minister of Tourism on exemptions for new COVID-19 measures: ‘Government needs to balance livelihoods and lives’

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Posted: Sunday, September 19, 2021. 1:37 pm CST.

By Benjamin Flowers: As of midnight tonight, almost the entire country, with the exception of San Pedro, Caye Caulker, Placencia, and Hopkins, will see increased COVID-19 measures including a 7 o’clock curfew and full lockdowns on Sundays. Today, Minister of Tourism and Diaspora Relations, Anthony Mahler, explained to Breaking Belize News (BBN) that the government decided to exempt these locations in an attempt to find a balance between public safety and economic recovery.

Mahler stressed that 18 months into the pandemic, the number of Belizeans that are under-employed, out of work, and or have slipped beneath the poverty line has gone up alarmingly.

“I think we need to create a serious balance between livelihoods and lives…” Mahler said. “It is important that we have those areas that generate a lot of revenues for the government and for the people of Belize in terms of work taxes everything to be open ough so that people are comfortable enough to come into Belize.”

Mahler said that the level four COVID-19 alert issued against Belize by the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC), will undoubtedly have a negative impact on the tourism industry, particularly since the US is Belize’s largest tourism market. He said, however, that the focus needs to be getting the spread of the virus under control locally before resuming advertising campaigns in the US.

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