Government introduces new COVID-19 restrictions, some exceptions for the islands
Monday, August 23rd, 2021
A new Statutory Instrument (SI) bringing significant changes to the current COVID-19 safety regulations comes into effect today, Monday, August 23rd, across the country. Gazetted on August 20th, SI No. 92 focuses on establishments/activities within the boundaries of the Belize District, making exceptions for Caye Caulker and San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye.
One of the changes in the SI is the restriction of the sale of alcohol at stores/shops. According to Regulation 23A, no person shall sell liquor between 6PM to 4AM. This regulation applies to stores and rum shops. This restriction does not apply to establishments holding a Restaurant License as per Sub-regulation (1) of the SI.
Restaurants previously allowed to operate under Sub-regulation (4); were required proper ventilation or proper open-air facilities or alfresco dining area and offered dining in services by reservation only, for no more than 75% of its seating capacity. The new regulation now mandates outdoor dining only. The seating capacity allowed should not exceed 50%.
Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye are part of the Belize District. However, the new SI is sparing the islands, and such regulation will not affect restaurants, saloons, diners, and other similar establishments operating on the Cayes.
Restrictions for casinos and gaming establishments
For these businesses to operate, all their staff must be immunized. Only patrons who are vaccinated will be allowed to enter the premises. Customers are required to present their COVID-19 vaccination card for proof of vaccination. Social distancing and face masks are mandatory in and outside of the establishment. The number of persons allowed inside at any time should not exceed the 50% capacity of the casino or gaming outlet.
In addition, under sub-regulation (6), the special internal auditor for COVID-19 will be required on the first of every month to submit a written report to the Ministry of Health and Wellness. This should include the name and immunization status of every employee. The report should also show the names of employees who are not immunized because of a recent COVID-19 infection.
Failure to follow these restrictions may lead to fines and even imprisonment. The public is asked to continue following safety measures, wearing face masks in public places, washing hands, and observing social distancing.
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