BELIZE CITY, Sun. Oct. 3, 2021– As per the new SI enacted at the start of this month, persons trying to enter government buildings are now being required to present proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test before being allowed entry.
The new SI came under direct attack from the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB), which asserted in a recent statement that the regulations were finalized without the input of the workers that the organization represents. Last week, they called for the government to delay the enactment of the regulations — to no avail.
It has been noted that it is unvaccinated public servants who will be largely affected by these new regulations.
In speaking to the media last week, Commissioner of Police, Chester William said, “In the case of persons who have not been vaccinated, the PCR and rapid tests will be valid for two weeks. So every two weeks you’ll have to produce that PCR or rapid test in order to enter any such establishment. When it comes to employees at these establishments, the regulations provide that the employees must produce the immunization card or a negative PCR or rapid test. For those employees who do not produce any of those requirements, then they will be sent home, marked absent, and will be subject to the disciplinary process of that particular office.”
It must be noted that the regulation mandates that all persons wishing to enter a public building or government office will be required to present a vaccination card or negative Covid-19 test.
Last Friday, enforcement of this requirement began at government-owned buildings across the country. Reports are that the new process is causing a lag of sorts, since persons have to be screened before entering those buildings.
While these regulations are a far cry from the proposal to mandate the presentation of a vaccine card or negative Covid-19 test prior to entry into any building accessed by the public, they are being looked at as a soft mandate to some and a coercion tactic to others in the public.
Another issue that has arisen since the introduction of the new regulation is whether vaccination cards being presented are authentic and approved by the Ministry of Health and Wellness. Worldwide, unvaccinated persons are forging vaccination cards to secure jobs and gain access to services now requiring proof of vaccination.
In Belize, several persons were arrested and charged for their involvement in a fake vaccination card ring. The fake document was being sold for $300 apiece.