It has been a little over six months since Belize’s Philip Goldson International Airport was closed to tourists and Belizeans as a measure in the fight against COVID-19. The areas hardest hit have be top tourist destinations of Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker and Placencia. Most of the hardships that came with the lockdown are expected to go way as the international airport reopens today, October 1, 2020.
Belize reopens to travelers with limited flights on United, American, and Avianca. All travelers will be required to test negative for COVID-19 - with the option to present a PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival, or be tested at the airport for $50 - and may only stay at approved Gold Standard Hotels (list here) and use services of approved Gold Standard Tour Operators (list here).
Hotels are reopening in phases, and the first set of approved hotels that will be open October 1 are those that provide full service and amenities for guests, including airport transport, isolated tours, pool or beach access, and in-house restaurants or food delivery. Travelers will not be able to move freely throughout the country during this initial phase, and will be restricted to “safe corridors” that include their hotels and hotel-run excursions only. Social distancing and masks are required in public.
Belizean nationals, residents, homeowners, retirees, and long stay non-nationals do not need to stay at an approved hotel, but will be required to take a PCR test upon arrival and quarantine for at least one day at a hotel, at their own expense, until test results arrive.
To track the above, the government is using the Belize Health mobile app (mandatory for all visitors to download before entering the country), through which travelers are expected to upload hotel confirmations, test results, live locations, and more. Anyone testing positive on arrival will be required to quarantine for 14 days at a quarantine hotel, at the traveler's expense.
With tourism being one of the top industries for the country, Belizeans welcome the reopening of its international airport, although the land borders remain closed. In San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, close to 90% of businesses remained closed due to the lockdown; many will not be able to reopen due to economic strains. Thousands of residents went back to their homes in the mainland as there were no jobs available. Various charitable groups assisted with food banks, meals and supplies for many islanders who were in need. The island looked like a ghost town, something never seen before.
Today, Ambergris Caye is looking more alive; activity on the streets is increasing, businesses are preparing to reopen and spirits are high. Social distancing and wearing of masks are still mandatory and there are various protocols that the Belize Tourism Board is mandating in order for both residents and visitors to stay safe.
Тhе ВТВ rесеntlу аnnоunсеd thаt, ассоrdіng tо Unіtеd Аіrlіnеѕ аnd Аmеrісаn Аіrlіnеѕ, flіghtѕ tо Веlіzе fоr thе fіrѕt wееk оf Осtоbеr hаvе bееn соmрlеtеlу ѕоld оut, whісh соuld bе а gооd ѕіgn оf rеbоundіng fоr thе іnduѕtrу. San Pedro, Ambergris Caye is strong and remains hopeful that life will get back to a new type of normalcy.