BELIZE CITY, Thurs. May 14, 2020– During a virtual press conference this morning, Prime Minister Dean Barrow took time out to announce that Belize is one of only twelve countries and territories in the world that has no case of the novel coronavirus.
The Prime Minister praised the frontline workers and our very own Director of Health Services, Dr. Marvin Manzanero, who spearheads the government’s fight against the pandemic.
Before outlining additional steps that the government is taking to lift more of the stringent restrictions under the national State of Emergency, Barrow cautioned Belizeans that we must not take this for granted.
“Our relative success must not be occasioned by carelessness”, the Prime Minister warned, “because each time we lift the still stringent measures, people tend to misinterpret it as a free pass, and tend to violate the other prohibitions that remain very much in place.”
“The ordeal is by no means over, and the lifting of the guardrails is the surest way of taking us back to ground zero”, Barrow cautioned.
The Prime Minister then went on to announce changes that were recommended to him by the Belize Tourist Board in an effort to boost the local tourism industry. The changes to the Statutory Instrument, which were agreed to by the National Oversight Committee and Cabinet, will now make allowance for restaurants to serve food on the premises, provided that they have an outdoor dining area. All open-air restaurants can now open when the SI is amended, the Prime Minister said.
Social distancing is still to be observed, and not more than 10 persons may gather at any place at any one time. Also, written recommendations will be provided to these restaurants.
Swimming, he said, is now permitted at swimming pools at hotels as well as in rivers and in the sea, provided that social distancing is maintained.
People who are outdoors exercising can now do so without wearing the face mask, the Prime Minister also announced. “They can literally now breathe easier,” he said.
Churches can now hold services, but they have to stay within the 10-person limit, Barrow said, adding that depending on the outcome of our anti-COVID-19 fight, we can raise the limit in the next few weeks.
Belizeans stranded in other countries, however, had no luck; the airport will remain closed for now.
Feature photo: Prime Minister Dean Barrow