Starting January 2022 COVID-19 tests no longer required when traveling less than 24 hours across land borders
Sunday, December 19th, 2021
Belize’s borders with Mexico and Guatemala will fully re-open on January 1, 2022, under specific protocols, mainly applying to Belizean’s visiting the border town/cities. While a negative covid test is currently required when leaving and entering the country, the Minister of Tourism and Diaspora Relations Honorable Anthony Mahler explained at a media luncheon held on December 16th that as of next month, anyone fully vaccinated who travels across the border for less than 24 hours will not be required to produce a negative COVID-19 test upon their return to Belize.
Those partially or not vaccinated will have to produce a negative test when crossing the land borders. Mahler further explained that any traveler staying more than 24 hours in Guatemala or Mexico would be required to produce a negative COVID-19 test to enter Belize. Mahler said that it is vital to fully re-opened the borders to benefit the national economy. He added that Belizean’s deserve to freely travel to Guatemala and Mexico after over a year of being closed.
These borders partially opened at the end of May 2021, only allowing tourists to enter Belize. These travelers had to pre-booked stays at a government-approved accommodation (Gold Standard) and take a COVID-19 test. Belizean’s were able to leave the country via these entry points during this time when they had medical emergencies or any other specific reasons to travel to Guatemala or Mexico.
Mahler said that such news of fully re-opening land borders would benefit the tourism industry. “We believe that we are going to see a lot more flows inbound and outbound. That’s where Border Management makes most of the money,” said Mahler. The minister said that although there may be a risk due to the latest COVID variant (Omicron), safety protocols can monitor the back-and-forth movement across the borders.
Nothing was said about sea borders. Currently, there are services between Punta Gorda, Toledo with Puerto Barrios, Guatemala, Dangriga Town with Puerto Cortez, Honduras, and San Pedro Town with Chetumal, Mexico. A call to the Ministry of Tourism indicated that the borders have been reopening in phases. The re-opening next month is expected to apply only to land borders. The respective water entry points connecting Belize with Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico will perhaps re-open later in 2022.
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