Government approves COVID-19 Enforcement Unit
Thursday, October 7th, 2021
During their weekly meeting on Tuesday, October 5th, Cabinet approved the establishment of a COVID-19 Enforcement Unit within the Ministry of Health and Wellness. This task force will oversee the maintenance of supervision and enforcement of COVID-19 protocols in all businesses and other establishments.
While Belize sees improvements in terms of the number of persons vaccinated against the disease, the number of people sick with Covid is also on the rise. The current Statutory Instrument No. 114 allows establishments such as restaurants to continue operating under certain regulations. These mandate that restaurants, diners, and similar establishments must have proper ventilation or open-air facilities. They can only offer dine-in services to immunized patrons, by reservation, with no more than 75% of their seating capacity. Social distance must be observed and hand sanitization before entering the establishment is recommended.
For some time, there have been plans to form the enforcement unit as it is alleged by concerned citizens that no enforcement is being done. Businesses in the gastronomy sector in particular, across the country, are advised to adhere to the COVID-19 regulations. Members of the enforcement unit can show up at any time at an establishment. If a patron inside the business is unvaccinated and can not provide a current COVID test, the proprietor and the customer will be committing an offense and shall be issued a violation ticket. The customer may be fined up to BZ$500 and the establishment up to BZ$1,000.
The rise in COVID-19 cases across Belize is associated with the Delta Variant. The total number of cases in the country is approaching 2,500. The government continues to urge the public to get vaccinated. There are vaccination centers available countrywide and vaccines doses are free. As of now, near 35% of the total population are fully vaccinated which is a total of 144,531. The vaccine against COVID-19 is considered the best boost to successfully combat the disease.
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