Although Belize continues to be free of any active COVID-19 cases, the country is still under a national shutdown, with all its borders and airport closed, an evening curfew in effect and under laws of social distancing and use of masks in public. The global pandemic is wreaking havoc on its tourism industry and crippling the country’s economy that is 65% dependent on tourism.
The Island Academy is the first school on Ambergris Caye to hold it’s graduation ceremony for 2020, but there was nothing typical of the occasion as the COVID-19 Pandemic forced the school to hold it’s ceremony online, probably the first in the country.
The COVID19 virus has crippled the world. It has done untold damage to our physical health, our mental health and our financial health. But, here on San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize, Isla Bonita, the damage is almost beyond measure. Ambergris Caye's only industry is tourism. With the closing of the borders, we instantly had a large number of people who could no longer feed themselves.
The Hol Chan Marine Reserve (HCMR) has been monitoring the Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD) since last year, which has now been spotted in several locations within the reserve on Ambergris Caye, Belize. This week the management team of the marine reserve made the announcement to the general public that the Hol Chan Marine Reserve re-opened on Wednesday, May 20, 2020. However, the Hol Chan Channel will remain closed until June 16, 2020 due to treatment being administered to the coral at the Channel.
As of yesterday, Tuesday, May 20, 2020,Belize is only country in mainland America with zero COVID-19 cases after Suriname reported a new case. Belize’s Ministry of Health reported last night that a further 33 samples were tested yesterday and all came out negative.
- Press Release - The sun shines bright on the island of Caye Caulker as businesses and individuals unite to form a feeding program that supports much of the island’s residents that are in need. Caye Caulker has always been and remains COVID-19 free. However, with no tourists here to enjoy the tropical paradise, even to date as Belize has opened itself up, the unemployment is in the 85% range.
The San Pedro Town Council today announced its selection of Mother of the Year for San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye. Mayor Daniel Guerrero, the San Pedro Town Council and Staff congratulate Mother of the Year 2020-2021, Ms. Evarista Badillo. The Mother’s Day event of the island was cancelled, along with other major events of the island, this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, via REEF RADIO/TV a new Mother of the Year was selected at random from nominations made by the viewers and listeners on Friday, May 8th, 2020.
This afternoon, Belize’s Ministry of Health has made the announcement that the country is once again back to zero active COVID-19 cases with the last two active cases having recovered after testing negative on their second test. This marks the 7th week since it was announced that Belize had its first COVID-19 case, a 38-year-old female, Belizean national who resides in San Pedro. Belize is going into a 4th week since the last case was diagnosed but Belizeans are urged that they CANNOT lose sight of the fact that our neighbors are having escalating numbers in terms of cases and deaths.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis in Belize, Ambergris Caye residents have been following additional rules and regulations separate from the rest of the country, set by Mayor Daniel Guerrero and Honorable Manuel Heredia Jr. (Area Representative and Minister of Tourism) along with the task force of the Emergency Operation Center. Their explanation has been that the island needs different rules from the rest of the country in order to protect its residents.
Supporting the Fight Against COVID-19 - (Press Release) - Bowen & Bowen and Companies (B&B) has pledged support to the Ministry of Health (“MOH”) and all Belizeans through a donation of much needed medical supplies. Tomorrow the company will be delivering to the MOH 20 hospital beds with mattresses and 5000 surgical masks. The CEO / President of Bowen & Bowen, Ltd, Michael H. M.
Press Release, San Pedro Town Council, Ambergris Caye, Belize - Tuesday, April 28, 2020 – Based on the Statutory Instrument No. 62 of 2020 which came into effect on April 26, 2020, the San Pedro Town Council, Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. and the EOC have made modifications to further ensure the safety of all residents in Ambergris Caye. The modifications will be fully enforced and are effective immediately.
The management of the Dr. Otto Rodriquez San Pedro Polyclinic II has made announcement that after close consultation with Central Health Region, Ministry of Health, it has made the difficult decision to postpone the Vaccinations Scheduled. Being in the state of emergency, the Ministry of Health has advices them to further discuss and strategize how they will administer the vaccines in a method that will not put the mothers, babies and nurses in harm's way.
The Ministry of Finance has announced that on Saturday, April 25, 2020 the pump price for regular gasoline will decrease by $2.97 from $10.23 to $7.26 per gallon. The prices for premium gasoline, kerosene, and diesel will remain unchanged at $10.92, $5.43, and $8.25 per gallon, respectively.
Belmopan. April 24, 2020. 6:01 p.m. - The Economic Oversight Team informs the public that the online portal for the Unemployment Relief Program has been closed to new applications. The portal opened to receive applications on April 3, 2020 and up to the time of closure at 4:00 p.m. today, April 24th, a total of 81,007 applications were received.
Press Release - BEL Continues to Manage the Effects of Environmental Conditions on Power System - Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) teams continue to manage the effects of extended drought and seasonal dry weather conditions on our electric infrastructure, which have resulted in an increase of dust, smoke and soot contamination on power line equipment. Over the past few days, there has been an increase in pole fires due to excessive contaminants on insulators that cause them to fail, and bush fires that damage poles.
At the beginning of April, the Caye Caulker Lobster Fest committee officially announced the cancelation of their lobster festival for 2020; this is in light of the current situation our country is facing with COVID-19.
- Press Release - The United States Government has committed $300,000 U.S. dollars to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak in Belize. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is providing these funds to UNICEF-Belize. The United States, via USAID, is providing this life-saving support through coordination with the Government of Belize, international humanitarian partners, and other stakeholders to support these priority areas for investment:
From The San Pedro Town Council - In a brief handing over, a member of the Lebanese business community on Ambergris Caye donated a Jiyo brand, 125 cubic centimeter engine motorcycle to the San Pedro Police Formation. The donation was secured through Malak Harmouch, proprietor of Local Hardware Store in San Pedro Town. At hand to receive the donation was the Officer In Charge of the Coastal Executive Unit of the Belize Police Department, Superintended of Police Christopher Noble.
As of noon today, April 20, 2020, a total of 72,213 applications have been submitted since the Unemployment Relief Program was opened to accept applications on April 3, 2020. This includes some of the applications submitted via hard copy, which have begun to be entered into the online portal.
Belmopan. April 14, 2020. 5:30 p.m. - As of 2:00 p.m. today, April 14th, 62,706 applications have been received via the COVID-19 eServices Portal, in addition to a lesser amount received in hard copy, for the COVID-19 Unemployment Relief Program. The program was designed to offer financial assistance to meet the needs of workers who have been laid off as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. It also provides relief to persons who were unemployed prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and are now experiencing even more difficult circumstances.