Tourist claims misinformation on COVID-19 regulations led to unpleasant experience with police
Thursday, February 11th, 2021
An American tourist visiting San Pedro Town almost got into trouble with the law after claiming misinformation of the curfew’s COVID-19 quarantine regulations. The visitor claims police were not courteous, and after several minutes of interrogation, was threatened if ever caught again violating the curfew.
The tourist, who has visited the country in previous years, acknowledged to have unwittingly violated the regulation but did not expect the police to treat him the way they reportedly did. According to his experience, it was just after 10PM on his way to his hotel from a restaurant. Police allegedly pulled him over and started interrogating him. He claimed to have not been allowed to explain why he was on the road at 10PM. The tourist said he feared for his safety when the police officer began hitting his baton as if implying it would be used against him. According to him, the police officer threatened to get him in trouble if he was caught again. He also noticed that while they were speaking to him, other drivers were not stopped and allowed to continue their way. The concerned visitor apologizes if any law was violated, but believes police officers should not approach anyone with implied physical force threats. He said to have contacted governmental authorities on the matter, but claims he was mistreated or ignored.
According to his claim of misinformation, tourists may travel freely after curfew between Gold Standard accommodations within the government’s safe corridor. Information from the Belize Tourism Board regarding safer corridors states that tourists can move around freely, but are highly encouraged to remain within the safe corridor and utilize Gold Standard certified services (https://belizetourismboard.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Safe_Corridors_October20-01-1.png). The information, however, does not discuss curfews.
Curfew and mask regulations
Belizeans and visitors are advised that under the Statutory Instrument introduced on February 1st, adults’ curfew runs from 10PM until 5AM. While for unaccompanied children, the curfew is 6PM to 5AM. Children can only be out on the street after 6PM if accompanied by an adult. The curfew applies to everyone, including tourists. Anyone found guilty of violating these regulations can be fined up to BZ$500.
Another important law is the use of face masks. The use of these is mandatory in any public place. The only exceptions are inside your private residence, while exercising or swimming. When driving alone or in the company of members of the same household in an enclosed vehicle, they are not required. Masks must be worn when driving or riding on golf carts or motorcycles.
There was no comment from the police on this matter.
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