BELMOPAN, Mon. May 3, 2021– Last month, athletes took to social media to vent their outrage at the Government of Belize’s decision to allow the reopening of casinos, while taking no action to allow sports activities to resume.
Following the athletes’ request for the removal of restrictions on sports activities, the Ministry of Health, Sports and E-Governance announced that restrictions would be reduced to allow for athletes to resume training in their respective sports disciplines, effective May 1, 2021. While restrictions are reduced, the Minister of Youth, Sports and E-Governance said there are some stipulations that must be adhered to. In an interview with local media, Minister Kevin Bernard said, “[COVID-19 incidences are] on a controllable pace, and that gives us a little bit of relief. We are going ahead with our plans as agreed with the various sporting associations… When it comes to contact sports, I want to make it absolutely clear. There is a list of contact sports in this country will be allowed for training purposes only for the next three months.” He further explained that contact sports are open for training only, and the permission is being granted only for training carried out within an association.
The Minister says that over the course of the next three to six months, the ministry will monitor the progress and carefully consider whether to reopen competitive contact sports, but with the absence of audiences.
Minister Bernard noted that the process of lifting restrictions on sporting activities will have to be properly managed in order to minimize the risk of transmission/ spread of the virus.
Bernard encouraged organizers of sporting events to mimic what is being modeled in other regions.
Sports organizers are tasked with attracting a virtual audience and having protocols in place that allow virtual broadcasting in order to minimize any incidence of spreading.
These events will be closely monitored by the Ministry of Health and Wellness. If cases begin to surge following the reopening of sports, Minister Bernard says that the Ministry will do what needs to be done to keep the pandemic controlled, even if sports must be suspended once again.