Friday, July 12, 2024

COVID-19 regulations: Curfew extended; only vaccinated patrons allowed in restaurants

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On Thursday, October 14th, the Government of Belize released Statutory Instrument (SI) No. 119 regarding regulations to control the spread of COVID-19. Among some of the rules in the SI, is the extension of the current 9PM curfew and requiring employees from restaurants, saloons, diners, and its customers to be immunized.

The updated SI further indicates in sub-regulation (4) of the regulation (21), that restaurants need to have proper ventilation or have an alfresco dining facility to operate. As previously indicated, they may only offer dining-in services to immunized patrons, by reservation only, and for no more than 75% of its seating capacity. Restaurant management is also required to observe social distancing protocols and other required hygiene rules such as hand sanitizing. Restaurants are also expected to hire a Peace Officer, who shall be a Justice of the Peace. The Peace Officer will ensure compliance with the COVID-19 regulations by both the employees, management, and patrons.

In the case of street food vendors, they can operate under the following regulations. They must place distance markers (6 feet apart) to indicate where a customer must stand.

Curfew extended until November

The current 9PM to 4AM curfew for adults will remain until November 1st when the COVID-19 situation will be reviewed. The curfew for minors continues from Sunday to Saturday indicating that they should not be in any public place 6PM and 9PM, unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.

The curfew, however, will not apply to any members on the duty of the security forces, Customs and Excise Department, Department of Immigration Services, public utilities, or any frontline healthcare provider under the Ministry of Health and Wellness. The curfew will also not apply to any person in possession of a pass badge issued by the minister responsible for the home affairs of a person authorized by him.

The penalties for contravening these regulations can be a fine of BZ$5,000 or imprisonment for a term of six months or both fine and imprisonment.

The government also mandates wearing face masks (nose and mouth covering) properly when in public places. Neck gaiters (buffs), fishing face masks, ski masks, any closed tube of fabric, or another similar face, neck, or head covering designed only to expose part of the face is prohibited.

The only exceptions for face masks are when a person is at a private residence, exercising, swimming, driving alone, or in the company of members of the same household in a motor vehicle.

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