Thursday, June 20, 2024

Land borders to open in early 2022; no word on sea borders

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Belize’s land borders with Guatemala and Mexico are set to fully re-open in early 2022. There was no mention of sea borders. The decision was issued in a release by the Government of Belize stating that, after much discussion and considering several important factors, the Cabinet took the decision to continue kickstarting the national economy. Currently, the borders are partially open, only allowing authorized traffic and tourists staying at approved hotels to enter the country.

This long-awaited announcement came after a meeting between Prime Minister Honourable John Briceño and the executive council of the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry. According to a note from the government, the prime minister listened to several suggestions, leading to constructive and positive feedback. Prime Minister Briceño committed to taking to Cabinet the various recommendations offered by the chamber.

The government indicated that many protocols must be set before the land borders re-open due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. These new regulations will be announced to the public as soon as they are finalized.

The land borders had been fully closed since the starting of the pandemic in Belize in March 2020. The only way persons could get across to Guatemala or Mexico was with the authorization of the Government of Belize. Then on May 31st of this year, and against the advice of healthcare providers, the land borders were re-opened to foreign tourists only.

Up to today, the process to enter the country requires tourists to present proof of a negative PCR Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours before arrival in Belize or a rapid antigen test approved by the Ministry of Health and Wellness. The test must be taken within 24 hours before arrival. Tourists must also be pre-booked for a minimum of three nights at a Gold Standard hotel and mode of transportation. Foreign travelers testing positive for Covid-19 will be denied entry. Meanwhile, Belizeans or other travelers with special permission approved by GOB can leave and enter the country.

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