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Chebat’s controversial wedding exemption

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Aug. 26, 2021– This week, a letter from the Ministry of Health and Wellness that granted a family which was planning to hold an upscale wedding, an exemption from the Covid-19-related restrictions on social gatherings, was leaked to the public. The letter, signed by the Minister of Health and Wellness, Hon. Michel Chebat, approved the holding of an unrestricted wedding for Ms. Shilpa Narwani at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel.

While Minister Chebat told KREM news that the granting of such an exemption is part of an effort to encourage more vaccinations, the decision is absolutely inconsistent with the purpose of the current Covid-19 legislation and new amendments in the recent SI which seek to limit movement to reduce the spread of the Covid-19 virus during the third wave of the pandemic.

The letter from Minister Chebat to the general manager of the Best Western Plus Belize Biltmore Plaza, Ted Tejada, states, “In accordance with Section 8 of the Public Health Act (Prevention of the Spread of Infectious Disease) (COVID-19) SI. No. 74 of 2021 — Exemption on the restriction of gatherings for social purposes, given that you have provided sufficient evidence to the Ministry of Health and Wellness that 100% of the guests have received at least their first vaccination, permission is hereby granted for the Biltmore Hotel to host the wedding of Md. Shilpa Narwani on Wednesday 25th August 2021.”

The letter stipulated that persons in attendance at the wedding would be required to wear face masks, wash or sanitize their hands regularly and practice social distancing. Reports are that as many as 120 persons were supposedly present at the wedding yesterday, with a reception being held after.

When asked to comment on the matter, Prime Minister John Briceno remarked, “That was just brought to my attention. I do think that we are trying to discourage those activities as much as we can, and I think that the Ministry is trying to assist in this wedding that they are saying only if you are vaccinated you can attend, and I think that’s a big start. Maybe we can use of that to encourage people to vaccinate. Because I know some people are concerned that we want to legislate vaccination…. I don’t think we are there. I think what we need to do is encourage people to vaccinate.”

Hon. Briceno added, “Probably we need to move away from forceful vaccination and coercions and to encourage.”

It is now well-known that the COVID-19 vaccination does not prevent one from contracting or spreading the deadly Covid-19 virus.

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