Friday, July 12, 2024

Summary of Statutory Instrument No. 62 of 2020


The following regulations apply to all areas of Belize:

Is there a curfew?
Yes. Curfew hours are as follows:
1. For children 16 years and under, from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. the following morning
2. For adults, from 8:00 p.m. to 4:59 a.m. the following morning

Is anyone exempt from curfew?
Yes. Who can move freely during curfew?
● Frontline healthcare workers who are on duty who are reporting to or from work for the Ministry of Health or its statutory bodies
● Members of the security forces who are on duty
● Customs and Excise Department staff who are on duty
● Department of Immigration Officers who are on duty
● Other essential workers (with a pass badge) who are reporting for an emergency or as otherwise allowed by the pass badge

Movement during non-curfew hours – Who can move and for what purpose?
Movement is allowed between 5:00 a.m. to 7:59 p.m. until further notice only for the purposes of:

● Purchasing of essential needs (food, fuel, finance, medicine)
● Medical or veterinary attention
● Other emergencies
● Essential workers who are reporting to, or coming from, work
● Workers of an approved business allowed to operate under regulation 9, who are reporting to or coming from work, or who are performing duties for the effective conduct of their business (security guards, agricultural workers, etc.)
● Home-healthcare service providers going to or coming from work (to attend to the sick, elderly or disabled persons, or for childcare purposes)

Exercise is allowed after curfew hours from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.
The period allocated for exercise (walking, jogging, running) is 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. ONLY. Exercising outside of this time is an offence.
Six feet of social distancing must be practiced by all persons exercising during these hours.

Can an officer of the security forces stop you?
You can be stopped during the period under proclamation and may be asked to explain your reason for moving. You should be moving to fulfil one of the reasons provided above. That means there should be no movement for social gatherings since this is prohibited, and no movement if is not related to “essential work”, or to obtain food, fuel, finances or medicine.

You will be stopped if you are caught committing an offence.
No loitering is permitted for the duration of the period of public emergency under proclamation.

Can I move from district to district or between districts?
Movement between districts or across districts is only allowed for work by essential service workers or those workers of approved businesses allowed to operate under Regulation 9, or for an emergency.

Resumption of business – Which businesses can resume operations?

Regulation 9 (a) 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
● Fuel stations, fuel depots, liquid petroleum gas (LPG) suppliers, LPG depots, LPG distributors
● Agro-processors, food manufacturers, factories, manufacturers of carbonated beverages
● Agricultural and aquacultural farms
● Fishing for livelihood and sustenance (no fishing for sport or leisure)
● Waste disposal, sanitation companies and auxiliary personnel
● Productive sector industries, personnel and auxiliary workers (including for food and water)
● Public transportation providers
● Construction and construction sites (private and commercial)
● Bakeries and tortilla factories

Regulation 9 (b): Businesses that can operate from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
• Pharmacies
• Markets (agricultural produce, fish, and meat)
• Convenience stores, food stores, supermarkets, meat shops, butchers, distributors of carbonated and other beverages (including potable water) and food
• Hotels, villas, and other rental accommodations (for maintenance and house-keeping by employees and, where these establishments have restaurants, delivery, take-out or drive-thru’ services ONLY are acceptable). The restaurant cannot open for services of dining-in.
• Store-front outlets for essential businesses (public utilities companies) solely to allow customers to pay bills
• Financial institutions (including commercial banks, credit unions, money lending institutions, money transfer institutions, pawn shops)
• Mechanic shops, garages, and auto-parts stores
• Service of take-out, delivery and drive-thru’ facilities (at restaurants, saloons, diners, and other similar establishments)
• International delivery services by international delivery service providers (such as DHL, Federal Express, Amerijet, etc.)
• Domestic delivery services (such as BPMS and Speedit) or pick-up of goods and meals by social service organizations and volunteer groups operating under the auspices of the Ministry of Human Development
• Wholesalers of goods and services directly related to approved businesses which are allowed to operate, provided that the wholesalers operate only to supply and/or offer delivery services; wholesalers cannot be open for business to the general public
• The Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Centre (and any research undertaken)
• Hardware stores (for delivery services only to those businesses approved to operate)

Regulation 9 (c ): Businesses that can operate from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
• All offices listed in Schedule II (see list below)

Businesses that can operate on a 24-hour, seven-day per week basis:
• Food mills
• Sugar, citrus, and other approved food production factories
• Oil production and drilling for oil exploration
• Port operations and services connected to the loading and unloading of ships, aircrafts, and delivery to and from ports
• Public utilities and independent energy producers which provide energy to public utilities

Establishments to remain closed until further notice:
● Casinos and gaming establishments
● Spas, beauty salons, and barber shops
● Gyms, sporting complexes
● Discos, bars, rum shops, and nightclubs

What about Social Distancing?
The new “normal”:
Everyone is to continue practicing social distancing of up to six feet.

How does social distancing apply in the workplace?

Regulation 12
1. Businesses and offices are to ensure that customers and staff maintain at least six feet from each other, both inside and if people are waiting in line outside, of the establishment.
2. The number of persons allowed into a business or office must be proportionate to the square footage of the premise and social distance practicing protocols.
3. Within 24 hours of the commencement of these regulations, all businesses must place distance markers six feet apart, inside and outside of the business, indicating where each customer must stand in a line or checkout point.

Can I go to my workplace?

Businesses or establishments listed in Regulation 9 above, shall implement measures to allow their employees to work from home if the work done by that employee and business is one that can be effectively done remotely.

Employees working from home/remotely
Anyone allowed to work from home shall do so as follows:
● Be available during normal working hours
● Stay at home and observe social distancing and curfews
● Report to your employer as required or instructed

Employees who can only work from their workplace
If a job can only be done at a workplace, the employee is to report to work unless instructed not to report to the place of work.
If an employee is to report to work then he can do so as follows:
● Between the hours specified in Regulation 9 (a) (b) or (c)
● The employer shall implement social distancing protocols under Regulation 12 (see above) in addition to safety measures advised by the Ministry of Health.

These are prohibited:
Social Gatherings
No person shall host or attend the following:
● A private party which includes persons living outside your house
● A recreational or sporting event
● A wedding which has more than 10 persons. This includes the bride, groom, official witnesses, and the marriage officer.
● A banquet or reception
● Any social event
● Any ceremony of public worship in any public place or centre which involves the participation of the public
● A funeral, except members of the immediate family and the officiant and the mortuary staff
● A meeting of fraternal, private, or social club of organisation

Are borders still closed?
Yes. All ports of entry are and will remain closed during the public emergency.
However, the following will be allowed to deliver food, medicine, and other supplies:
● Cargo flights and cargo shipments
● Commercial courier flights
● Emergency medical flights
● Emergency flights

What about public transportation?
• Every means of public transportation can operate provided they follow the sanitization protocols (by air, sea and land, including water taxis, taxis, dollar vans).
• The Ministry of Health shall issue additional guidelines for sanitization of public transportation and for protocols to be followed by its users.
● Every person traveling on public transportation has to wear a face mask for the duration of the journey. Persons will not be allowed to board any form of public transportation if they are not wearing a face mask.
● Public transportation is limited to seating capacity.
● As each passenger disembarks from the public transportation, the transport operator shall oversee the sanitization of the means of public transportation on site at the terminal.
● Before boarding, every passenger must wash or sanitize his hands using the conveniences provided at the terminal.

Everyone must follow the Ministry of Health guidelines that will be updated from time to time.

Can I return to Belize from abroad?
No Belizean will be allowed to enter Belize through any port of entry unless he is returning to Belize after receiving urgent medical attention or is required to be in Belize to assist in urgent medical situations.
If the person is allowed in:
● He will be placed in a quarantine centre determined by the Quarantine Authority
● for a period of time determined by the Quarantine Authority
● at his own expense (approximately $110 per day board and three meals)
If you believe you have been in contact with a person with COVID-19, have travelled from a country affected by COVID-19, or develop flu like symptoms you shall:
● immediately inform the Ministry of Health
● be placed into mandatory quarantine at the discretion of and for a time determined by the Quarantine Authority
● at the person’s own expense
If you do not exhibit any flu-like symptoms, the Quarantine Authority will determine when you will be released.

If, while in quarantine, you develop flu-like symptoms, you will be placed in immediate isolation at a designated hospital or other isolation centre.

Information for Medical Officers
● No medical officer employed by the Government of Belize shall engage in any independent private practice during the period of public emergency declared by proclamation.
● Medical officers independently employed shall report to the Director of Health Services any patient that he has attended to that exhibited flu-like symptoms or who has respiratory problems.

Penalties for not obeying the law:
● Any person who contravenes any of the regulations or incites or attempts to incite any person to contravene any of these regulations commits an offence and is liable to a fine of $5000 or imprisonment for two years.
● A person who is convicted of a second or subsequent offence under these regulations is liable to imprisonment for a period of two years.
● It is the duty of every member of the security services to enforce, using force if necessary, to ensure compliance with these Regulations and with any other order, rules, instruction or condition lawfully made, given or imposed by any officer or other person under the authority of this regulation.
● Any member of the security forces may arrest, without a warrant, any person whom he has reasonable cause to believe to have committed an offence against these regulations or any other rules. They may also enter any premise or board any ship or aircraft without a warrant.

The Minister of National Security may make orders and rules for the purposes of preventing, controlling, containing, and suppressing the spread of COVID-19.

These Regulations came into effect on April 26, 2020 and will remain in effect for the duration of the public emergency which is April 30, 2020. Since these Regulations have come into effect, SI No. 55 of 2020 is repealed.

See Schedule I and Schedule II of SI 62 of 2020 below:

SI 62 of 2020
[Regulation 8]
Essential Services
1. Ministry of National Security
2. Department of Border Management and Immigration Services
3. Customs and Excise Department
4. Cabinet members and members of the National Assembly

5. Medical and auxiliary services
(a) including veterinary services;
(b) services by private medical institutions including private clinics; and
(c) ambulance services,
6. Forest Department
7. Department of the Environment
8. National Meteorological Service
9. National Emergency Management Organization (Emergency Operations Centre)
10. Private security services
11. Public utility workers and auxiliary staff responding to emergencies
12. Social workers authorized to respond to emergencies
13. Sanitation workers and auxiliary staff
14. Productive sector industries, personnel and auxiliary workers (potable water production, agricultural workers)
15. Media (workers supporting radio, newspapers and online media services)
16. Belize Port Authority
17. Office of the Governor-General
18. The National Fire Service
19. Belize Electricity Limited
20. Belize Water Services Limited
21. Belize Telemedia Limited
22. Speednet Communications Limited (Smart)

SI 62 of 2020
Regulation 9 (a,b,c)
1. Office of the Prime Minister
2. Ministry of Finance
3. Attorney General’s Ministry (including the Belize Companies and Corporate Affairs Registry, the Belize Intellectual Property Office, Vital Statistics Unit)
4. The Judiciary of Belize
5. Ministry of Health (including) Central Medical Laboratory
6. Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation
7. Ministry of Food and Agriculture
8. Ministry of the Public Service
9. Ministry of Natural Resources
10. Ministry of Works
11. Department of Transport
12. Central Information and Technology Office
13. Government of Belize Press Office
14. Belize Gazette publications
15. The Belize Bureau of Standards
16. The Belize Tax Services Department
17. Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital Authority
18. Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions
19. Treasury Department
20. Central Bank of Belize
21. Department of Civil Aviation
22. Belize Airports Authority
23. Belize Agricultural Health Authority
24. Belize Marketing and Development Corporation
25. Social Security Board
26. Municipal Bodies (town councils and city councils)
27. Diplomatic Missions
MADE by His Excellency the Governor-General Sir Colville N. Young this 25th day of April, 2020.

G.C.M.G., M.B.E., PhD., J.P.(S)

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