Press Release, (June 19th 2020) - As Belize's tourism industry prepares for reopening, the health, safety, and well-being of the industry, its employees, the wider Belizean community, and visitors are more important than ever, as we mitigate the risk of COVID-19 and adopt to new travel norms.
Press Release - U.S. Embassy Belize, Belmopan – On June 19, the United States Government delivered two ambulances donated by the Virginia Emergency Services Program, a U.S. non-governmental organization, to the Belize Fire Department in San Ignacio and Santa Elena. The shipment was transported by the U.S. Department of Defense under the U.S. Department of Defense Humanitarian Assistance Program. On their arrival to Belize, the ambulances were immediately handed over to Fire Chief Collin Gillett by U.S. Embassy Belmopan Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Keith Gilges.
Although Dengue deaths have not climbed to alarming numbers in Belize, last year there were 10 reported deaths in the country. With the astonishing rise in the number of mosquitos in Ambergris Caye and the country, Belizeans are calling the Ministry of Health to provide relief through the spraying of malathion.
Press Release - Belmopan. June 15, 2020. 4:20 p.m. - The National Biodiversity Office under the Ministry of Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development announces the re-opening of protected areas under its management, including national parks, nature reserves, natural monuments and wildlife sanctuaries. All visitors to these protected areas are advised that social distancing and other measures required under the state of emergency regulations must always be observed to suppress the spread of COVID-19 in Belize.
In a short, small, but meaningful ceremony, the Isla Bonita Elementary School held its graduation ceremony on Friday, June 12, 2020. It was a memorable day for the class of Standard 6; the senior graduating class consisted of 26 students. They received their certificate of completion as witnessed by the school staff and immediate family. This year, the students could not have a huge graduation ceremony but the school ensured that the students are celebrated under the theme: "Be Bold, Be Courageous, Be Your Best!”
Belmopan. June 11, 2020. 10:00 a.m. - Cabinet has supported recommendations resulting from a National Oversight Committee meeting held on Monday, June 8th, which will now see a further relaxation of the lockdown restrictions put in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Though there has been no sign of community transmission of COVID-19 for over 50 days, the Government continues to take a phased and balanced approach to reopening. The new relaxation measures will allow more people to return to work and more businesses to open.
Press Release - The Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) recently polled its members to gauge their views regarding the reopening of the Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport (PGIA). The survey also asked members to share their views on the medical safeguards that should be in place once PGIA is reopened to minimize the importation and spread of Covid-19 from arrivals.
Press Release, Ministry of Health, Belmopan. June 9, 2020. 4:45 p.m. - As a result of a revised protocol that came into effect this week, persons entering Belize either legally or illegally are being swabbed and tested for COVID-19. That process identified a positive case for COVID-19 in a 22-year-old female who was caught entering Belize illegally on Sunday, June 7th.
Press Release - On Sunday, June 7, 2020, at about 6:00 p.m., Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD) Forest Rangers were conducting a routine exercise mounting cameras to monitor the poaching of endangered scarlet macaws 1.2 kilometres east of the border, in area of Caracol, in the Chiquibul National Park.
Usually this week the San Pedro Lobster Festival committee is crazy busy making its final plans and arrangements for one of the most exciting annual festivals in Belize. Sadly this year the San Pedro Lobster Festival will not take place on Ambergris Caye. Lobster season in Belize opens on June 15. The COVID-19 pandemic made sure that none of all three lobster festivals will take place this year in Belize. The festival committees in Caye Caulker and Placencia have also made announcements of the cancellations of their festivals for 2020.
San Pedro High School is set to graduate 139 seniors by mid month and this week the school announced the top students of the graduating class. Manuel Casasola took the top honors of Valedictorian while Rachel Alamilla will be the Salutatorian and the Vote of Thanks will be given by Stephanie Usher. Like most graduations ceremonies this year, San Pedro High has planned an unconventional ceremony that includes a broadcast of the speeches and certain parts of the ceremony that will be recorded and broadcasted live through Reef TV on June 18.
Belize Children's Assistance Organization was created by Ms Yamilet Tzib to assist jobless parents with basic grocery items. She then pushed forward to assist single parents with baby products such as diapers, formula and wipes, to name a few. With the help of Mrs. Debbie Howell Reed and Mrs. Sheila Midgett Mark and their GoFundme pages the Organization has been assisting the needy on San Pedro and on the mainland with weekly grocery packages since April 10, 2020.
Today, Monday, June 1, marks the beginning of the 2020 hurricane season for the Atlantic Basin. The season runs from June 1 to November 30 each year. However the formation of tropical cyclones is possible at any time of the year, as shown by the formation of tropical storm Arthur on May 16 and tropical storm Bertha on May 27. The formation of these systems marks the sixth consecutive year a storm has developed before the official start of the season.
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.