Belize has proved to be one of the best places to live and invest overseas, as we have been advising for over a decade. The welcoming people, its fertile land where a self-sustainable life can be achieved, its low-density population, and unmatched beauty are some of the many reasons Belize is one of our favorite retiring destinations and escape havens.
So how things are going in Belize during the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown? The answer from our own Belize insiders is: quiet well. Belize was the last coronavirus-free country in the continent until the first registered case on March 23rd, and, according to government statistics, no new cases have been registered since April 13th.
On May 1st, after 28 days with zero new cases, the country began relaxing its quarantine restrictions and essential businesses and organizations have begun operating during set hours.
Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow commented that: “Belize is now one of only 12 countries and territories in the entire world to be currently Covid-19 free, that is quite an achievement, and I want to congratulate all Belizeans, but in particular, to single out the essential service workers, all essential workers and in particular, of course, the frontline workers—doctors, the nurses, all the medical personnel.”
First Registered Case And Action Steps
The first case of coronavirus in Belize was registered in San Pedro, a 38-year-old woman who frequently travels to the United States. She had the mild version of the disease, which did not caused hospitalization. Her only known contact was her doctor who was properly protected.
Ambergris Caye was quarantined immediately. All water taxis and flights to the island were suspended.
On the mainland, bus service was also suspended and all borders were closed, including the international airport, which closed on March 23rd, after the last flight departed.
The Immigration Department continued to process visa extensions while implementing social distancing precautions.
Schools and all restaurants were ordered to close, except for take-out. Universally accepted practices of social distancing and sanitization were implemented across the country.
Overview Of Covid-19 In Belize
So far Belize has registered 18 confirmed cases—16 of which are fully recovered and two deaths. With a population just under 400,000, Belize’s Covid-19 death rate is only 0.0005%.
The state of emergency was extended until June 30, with curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. for adults, and from 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. for children under 16.
Borders are still closed. Government offices and public transportation remain operating along businesses like grocery and hardware stores, pharmacies, and banks, but only under specific hours. Restaurants are reopening again, most are only doing take-away and delivery services, unless the restaurant counts with an open-air area.
Schools remain closed and social gatherings of more than 10 persons are prohibited. Other businesses that remain closed are gyms, spas, sporting complexes, bars, rum shops, and nightclubs.
At the time of writing, many restrictions are being eased and people can move freely around the country. The use of masks and safe social distancing is mandatory while in public spaces. The use of beaches, rivers, pools at hotels, and other recreational areas is now permitted in an effort to boost domestic tourism, as Belize depends heavily on this industry.
Slowly but surely, the country is cautiously reopening. Meanwhile, Belizeans have kept their spirits positive during this pandemic and are looking forward to reopen their country. Prime Minister Barrow has tentatively announced the opening of Philip Goldson International Airport on July 1st.