Monday, June 17, 2024

Tourists arrested and charged for not wearing masks on Ambergris Caye


Three American tourists appeared at the Magistrate Court in Belize City on Monday, January 4th, after being arrested and charged for failure to wear a face mask on New Year’s Day while in San Pedro Town.
The trio, 52-year-old Jennifer Heckman, 54-year-old Jeffery Heckman, and 58-year-old Jeffery Garcea, were reportedly on Sea Grape Drive when police caught them without face masks. They were taken to Belize City after the New Year’s weekend, where they appeared before Senior Magistrate Aretha Ford.

The three tourists pled guilty and were fined BZ$500 each for the offense. They had to pay the fine forthwith or, in default, serve five months in prison. The Heckmans and Garcea were able to meet the fine and were set free. The detainees told authorities they are writers and were vacationing in Belize.
According to the government of Belize STATUTORY INSTRUMENT No. 95 of 2020 4.– (1) For the purposes of preventing, controlling, containing, and suppressing the spread of the infectious disease COVID-19 every person shall wear a face mask or other face (nose and mouth) covering at all times, provided that children under the age of six years old shall not be required to wear a face mask or other face (nose and mouth) covering. (2) Notwithstanding sub-regulation (1) a person shall not be required to wear a face mask or other face (nose and mouth) covering if that person is– (a) at a private residence; (b) exercising; (c) engaging in any sporting activity; (d) swimming; (e) driving alone or driving with immediate family members; (f) riding a motorcycle or bicycle; (g) the priest, pastor, member of the choir, or other person conducting the service or sermon of a church or other place of worship; or (h) at a restaurant.

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