PM says otherwise
International airlines have begun selling flights into Belize for as early as June 28, 2020. While it is yet to be confirmed by the local authorities when the borders and the airports will reopen for tourism, carriers such as American Airlines and Delta Airlines have already begun offering flights into Belize. Prime Minister Dean Barrow addressed this matter during his press conference last Friday.
Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize: “It may be based on some discussion that they may have had with the Belize Tourism Board. I know they had an earlier discussion certainly and they had again proposed some even earlier aspirational date. Once we passed the extension to the state of emergency and made clear that as a matter of law, unless earlier we hope, it would last until the end of June they abandoned that earlier aspirational date making it plain that they couldn’t even think in those terms as long as a state of emergency would be in effect in Belize. So I believe that now that they’re aiming for a July date, again aspirationally, is to coincide with the end of the state of emergency which if course is to take place at the conclusion of the month of June. But that’s where it is, they may have- I suspect they did put this to the BTB who would be authorized to say no more than that well that sounds good aspirationally but of course it is government that would have to decide whether or not to allow this to happen, whether or not to open the borders and as I indicated earlier that will depend on a number of factors including the availability, the hoped for availability of a rapid test. We know that Abbott Labs for example and others have produced rapid tests we know that the FDA gave approval in emergency situations for the Abbott test to be used but there are the warnings they are still not considered to be as reliable as they should be but clearly these people are working to improve every day and it is not unreasonable to feel that by July there ought to be widely available, ought to be the mass marketing of reliable rapid tests and that as I said in my view – it will have to go to the NOC and the Cabinet – but in my view that would be a trigger for us to in fact open the airport and welcome back the tourists.”
During this afternoon’s edition of Ask the Expert, Dr. Manzanero noted that he doesn’t believe the reopening of the borders as early as July would be pragmatic.
Dr.Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services: “Do you think it’s safe to open our borders and the airport in June/July ? I don’t anticipate that’s going to happen, I don’t know that we are having discussions as to when land borders are going to happen. When you see the numbers happening in Mexico and Guatemala I don’t think that that’s something that’s being considered for right now. Mexico might be seeing the tapering off of this wave towards the third week of July so that gives you an idea of how long that border can potentially remain closed. What factors would you consider to determine Belize safe before we open the borders and the airport? Multiple factors; the epidemic everywhere else if there are increasing numbers that’s a factor. Whether people want to travel is also a factor because people might not be travelling, as long as the US has that travel advisory and it seems that will stick for the end of 2020 then people are not going to be coming to Belize in any case. Two is the availability of rapid tests so that we’re able to determine upon arrival who is in point of fact negative or what measures you have in place to ensure that nobody else is going to be escaping through the system and this is the same discussion all Caribbean countries were having in the meeting I just came from when is it going to be safe to open understanding that tourism is no longer a viable option at this point in time given what’s happening everywhere else.”
While you won’t be able to find a flight into Belize from Miami for Saturday, June 27, on the following day a round trip ticket between the two cities can be found priced for two hundred and sixty-nine US dollars on American Airlines. Other carriers such as Delta, however, have opened their flight schedule to Belize starting July 2.
Many Factors Considered For Airport Opening
Hospitals are resuming routines and one industry that wishes it could say the same is the tourist industry but Manazanero says it may be a while before the airport re-opens and he wondered out loud whether tourism is even a viable option at this time.
Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Director Of Health Service
"What factors would you consider Belize safe before you open the borders and the airports?"
"Multiple factors, epidemic everywhere else, whether people want to travel is also a factor, because people might not be travelling. As long as the US has that travel advisory and it seems that will stick for the end of 2020. People are not going to be coming to Belize in any case. That's one. Two, is the availability of rapid tests, so that you are able to determine upon arrival who is in point of fact negative or what measures you have in place to ensure that nobody else is going to be escaping through the system and this is the same discussion all Caribbean countries were having in the meeting I just came from when is it going to be safe to open, understanding that tourism is no longer a viable option at this point in time given what's happening everywhere else."