BELIZE CITY, Mon. Sept. 7, 2020– For the first time since August 7, 2020, Belizeans are free of curfew restrictions due to the end of the countrywide lockdown which became effective on September 4, 2020.
Readers will recall that due to an unforeseen rise in COVID-19 cases throughout the country, Prime Minister Dean Barrow called for a State of Emergency (SOE), which was initially to last for fourteen days, but was subsequently extended for an additional two weeks due to the steadily rising number of active cases.
Under Statutory Instrument No. 126 of 2020, Belizeans no longer have to be confined to their homes after 9:00 p.m.; however, there are apparent quarantine regulations which still are in place to limit the number of persons interacting with each other socially at a particular location at any given time.
Commissioner of Police Chester Williams mentioned these regulations at a press briefing on Friday. Among those regulations that are still in place are restrictions on the size of social gatherings and the requirement that masks be worn in public, he said.
“The new quarantine regulations, while it lifts the curfew, the other restrictions that were contained in Regulation 119 still do exist. So we still have restriction on social distancing, we have restrictions on the number of persons at any gathering, we have the issue of wearing of masks, we have the issue of riding a bus or on a boat and must be wearing a mask. The establishment owner or operator of a bus or boat can be held accountable if persons on the vessel, establishment or public transportation do not wear a mask,”
While being interviewed by members of the media on September 3, 2020, Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte had also mentioned that while there is no longer a curfew in place, police officers are to remain strict in their efforts to ensure orderly conduct by residents not only for the purpose of COVID-19- prevention, but for crime mitigation as well: “…so it is not a free up of anything; we have not freed up the country of anything; all we are saying is that we are no longer going to have a curfew, but remember, even though you no longer have the curfew, we still have to deal with the clamping down of quality of life crimes, so in the absence of a curfew, we will make sure that we become more vigilant as it relates to loitering and wandering without a purpose, and the like,” he said.