Ambergris Caye not exempt from ‘No Movement’ Sunday

Thursday, September 23rd, 2021


As part of the Statutory Instrument (SI) No. 106, this Sunday, September 26th and October 3rd, free movement across the country will be restricted, including San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker, Hopkins, and Placencia, which are exempt from the countrywide 7PM curfew. The only movement allowed will be for essential services. The government has resorted to this measure to contain the increase in COVID-19 cases all over Belize.

Some residents in Ambergris Caye wondered if the ‘Lockdown Sunday’ applied to the exempt areas, including the Cayes. A check with the Attorney General’s Ministry in Belmopan City clarified such speculations. In an email, they explained that lockdown Sunday also include San Pedro and all other areas that are exempt from the 7PM curfew. There is no exemption from the lockdown Sundays.’

The SI, which came into effect on Monday, September 20th mandates a countrywide 7PM curfew under Regulation 4. Under this same regulation, it cites the exception for main tourism destinations; Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker, Hopkins, Placencia, where the curfew remains from 9PM to 4AM. However, there is no exemption for these tourism hubs on the two ‘No Movement Days’ (September 26th and October 3rd).

Are Representative for Belize Rural South, Hon. Andre Perez also indicated that the restriction on the upcoming two Sundays is nationwide. As in the SI, he said that essential services would be the exception. These include emergencies, purchasing groceries, fuel, and seeking medical attention. Perez noted that employees in the tourism industry would be allowed to head to work. He recommends that people working in those establishments such as hotels, security guards, and medical wear their uniforms so authorities can recognize them as members of essential services. Traveling to and from the Philip Goldson International Airport will also be allowed; thus, Belizeans returning to the country and tourists can still travel on these Sundays.

Businesses allowed to operate

During these upcoming two Sundays, the different businesses allowed to operate include those providing essential services. These include fuel stations, grocery stores, pharmacies, medical and veterinary institutions, public transportation companies, and hotels and resorts catering to their guests.

Another clarification is Regulation 18 that accommodated restaurants with proper ventilation in Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker, Hopkins, and Placencia, to operate up to 75% of their seating capacity. This will not be allowed during these two Sundays, and individual restaurants not attached to a hotel should be closed. Excursions such as snorkel or diving day trips are also discouraged during these two Lockdown Sundays.

The current SI is expected to last for two weeks to flatten the numbers of COVID-19. The public is asked to abide and stay at home on these days/dates to suppress the rate of infections as the country goes through another COVID-19 wave. The government does not foresee a national lockdown, as in 2020; however, more drastic measures could be taken if people do not adhere to regulations. After October 3rd, the current efforts could be eased or get stricter. It all depends on the number of cases after this extreme measure.


 

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