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Gov't of Belize Announces Further Easing of Lockdown Restrictions #542907
06/11/20 11:53 AM
06/11/20 11:53 AM
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Posts: 67,506
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Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP
Curfew Hours Shortened And More Lockdown Restrictions Eased

The Cabinet has supported the recommendations resulting from the meeting of the National Monitoring Committee on Monday, June 8, which will now see greater relaxation of lockdown restrictions established to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Although there has been no Community transmission of COVID-19 for more than 50 days, the Government continues to adopt reopening with a gradual and balanced approach. New relaxation measures will allow more people to return to work and open more businesses.

The number of people allowed for social gatherings will increase from 40 to 100. Private parties, weddings, funerals, receptions, meetings of fraternal societies, social clubs, associations or civic organizations following social distancing protocols.

Curfew hours have been reduced from 10:00 pm to 4:59 am Sunday-Thursday and midnight to 4:59 am on Friday and Saturdays.

Bans on the use of playgrounds and playgrounds will be eliminated and recreational contact sports such as volleyball, basketball and football allowed. Gyms and spas will also be allowed to open.

The new statutory instrument reflecting these new measures is expected to enter into force on Friday, June 12, 2020. The Hon. Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte will provide more detailed information on the amendments on the ′′ Ask the Experts ′′ webcast at 1:00 p.m. on June 11

The state of emergency will expire on June 30, 2020 and is not expected to extend.

========

The Government of Belize announces further ease of lockdown regulations. Check them out on the press release below and stay tuned to the "Ask the Experts" Live on the Government of Belize Press Office facebook page as Attorney General, Michael Peyrefitte breaks down the new Statutory Instrument at 1:00 p.m.

Re: Gov't of Belize Announces Further Easing of Lockdown Restrictions [Re: Marty] #542915
06/12/20 04:03 AM
06/12/20 04:03 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 67,506
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP

The Great Easing: SOE Regulations Relaxed

Two days ago, we told you that a further relaxation in the state of emergency measures was coming - and those were formally announced today.

Effective tomorrow, the curfew will be relaxed for adults and children, and the numbers allowed in social gatherings will be increased.

So, these changes will allow for the closest thing to a return the pre-COVID lifestyles that was the norm up to April second when the first national 8:00 pm curfew went into effect.

Now, these latest changes had been decided upon 11 days ago, before patients 19 and 20 had appeared.

A press release announcing the changes says, quote "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."

Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte appeared on Ask the Experts for 90 minutes today specifying what rules are being relaxed, and why.

Here's his explanation of the new hours for the nightly curfew:

Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, Attorney General

"The curfew is set out as this, remember the last time we had a Sunday to Thursday thing and a Friday night and a Saturday night things. We have the same situation but different times. From Sunday to Thursday, from 5 in the morning until 10 at night. Let me repeat, starting tomorrow morning because all of this comes into effect tomorrow morning at 5, 12th of June, when you wake up in the morning, 5 o'clock is when the curfew ends and so you can be out on the street at 5 and once your out on the streets at 5 then you must be in because tomorrow is a Friday by midnight because tomorrow is Friday. Sunday to Thursday, it's 5 AM to 10 PM, Friday and Saturday it's 5 AM to midnight, so when you wake up tomorrow, you are free to roam about from 5 AM to midnight tomorrow, that's Friday and Saturday, 5 in the morning until midnight tomorrow and Saturday. Come Sunday, Sunday evening you must be in your house or off the street at 10 PM once again. So are we clear on that? Children, the curfew remains in place for children and this is the curfew for children. From Sunday to Thursday, from 5 in the morning to 8 in the morning you can be out but you must be accompanied by your parent or your guardian. From 8 AM to 6 PM you can be out by yourself without a parent or a guardian and from 6 PM to 10 PM Sunday to Thursday, you can be out but with a parent or a guardian. The curfew applies to children similarly on Friday, you can be out with your parent or guardian in the evenings now from 6 PM to midnight. So is that clear?"

So, how will these curfew changes affect the business community? The Attorney General made sure to segue specifically to that. He stressed that businesses are allowed to open from 5 in the morning, but that they must close 1 hour before the nightly adult curfew takes effect:

Hon. Michael Peyrefitte

"Every other time that applied before we did any state of emergency, that time is now back again. So, let me give you an example. Starting tomorrow, all public servants are to report to work at 8 AM and they report off of work at 4:30 on Friday pursuant to the public service regulation and I'm sure that our dedicated public servants are super excited about that. So starting tomorrow, work begins at 8 AM tomorrow and done 4:30 and starting next week Monday, 8 AM to 5 PM. So all times go back to pre covid-19 restrictions. All businesses that will be allowed to open can operate within 5 in the morning to 10 the night Sunday to Thursday or 5 in the morning to midnight, Friday and Saturday. However, all businesses must close one hour before the curfew starts. So Sunday to Thursday, you must close 9 o'clock. Friday and Saturday, you must close 11 o'clock, one hour before the curfew starts. Now, you cannot use the curfew to your benefit in this sense, let's just say for example you are a business and you have a license that allows you to open 10 in the morning and close 4 in the evening, that is your license you know, open 10 and close 4. You can't say that because the curfew is 10 the night, you want open until 9, no. You must go by your license, so when the license man say, your business close 4, you can't say but the curfew is only until 9 tonight so why can't I open? No, the curfew is just there for people who are normally allowed to open beyond midnight."

Come Together For Relaxed Regulations

Another important change to the SOE regulations is that the maximum number of persons allowed to congregate at social gatherings has been increased from 40 to 100.

It's just in time for all those primary school and high school graduations planned for June, but, face masks and social distancing rules must be strictly observed.

Here are the AG's comments on that change:

Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, Attorney General

"For the purpose of preventing COVID 19, no person may host or attend any of the following social activities with more than 100 persons. 100 persons now is the limit, remember it was 25, then 40, now it's 100, which included persons from outside of the immediate household of the house occupant. Before we use to have a little party with only who live there, now you can invite people to your private home, have a party there, which your music and everything and you can even invite people from outside of the house who don't live there, no more than 100. I don't know how 100 people could fit in a house, if you have a mansion that can hold 100 people, then more power to you but I would advise people, to not attend any party that have 100 people if your house is the size of my house because you then you will the mix up and blend up and you will be running the risk of getting COVID 19. However, you can do it. A wedding of 100 people, you are now allowed to have a 100 people which, this is to the chagrin of a lot of men who were using the excuse of we only can have 5 people so we can't get married. Now you have no excuse, you could get married. You can have a banquet, a ball or a reception, if you a wedding, then naturally you have a reception, for some funerals, people have wakes where they gather at a house and socialize, no more than 100 people but you can do that now. You can go to a social event, I guess if you have certain bashes or whatever or people that a little - people could even have a concert if you want have a concert but you will have to accept that it will be less than 100 people. You can have an outdoor event, once you get permission you can do it but it has to be less than 100 people."

Still No Opening For Bars and Rumshops

Since the last amendment to the regulations, the majority of businesses were allowed to re-open their doors. But, there were still a few that were not being allowed to operate. And even after this new amendment, there are still some businesses that can't - and we mean bars and nightclubs.

Today, the AG made the point that the very short list of still-prohibited businesses was easier to discuss than all the businesses that can open.

Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, Attorney General

"The following establishments and businesses shall remain closed. Discotheque, bars, rum shop, night clubs, closed. You cannot open, closed means cannot open. So no try convert a night club into your house and say it is the home. If you have a night club license, you are not allowed to open. If you have a bar license, you are not allowed to open as a public establishment. If you own a discotheque, you can't open, not as yet. All of this will be done June 30th, maybe in 2 weeks you will be able to open but for now, starting tomorrow, you cannot open, we are not there yet, you can't brace nobody yet, in the night club. So if you own any of those establishments, discotheque, bar, rum shop, night club, you cannot open. It is not to be confused with a social club, that I will get to later on in the show. That is clear from the NOC and from the regulation that those businesses cannot open. Day-care centres, childcare centres, nurseries and other similar establishments or businesses still cannot open, can't open."

Will The SEO End in June?

In today's press release, it says, quote, "The state of emergency will expire on June 30th, 2020, and [it] is not expected to be extended." End Quote.

Well, during the question and answer section of the webcast, one viewer was questioning the AG about the reason why competitive sports were not being allowed at this time, under what circumstances might the government reconsider that restriction.

That's when the Attorney General reiterated the government's point that there is no plan to extend the SOE any further than the end of this month, provided that there is no sudden spike in positive COVID cases in Belize before then. Here's how he put it:

Hon. Michael Peyrefitte- Attorney General

"I have the freedom to say this. There is a great chance, especially if we continue the way we are continuing now, there is a great chance that this state of emergence will end and it will not be renewed. Pretty much we will go back to the way we were before. But I think I can say, confidently I can say that there is a great chance that the borders will remain closed and possibly the airport will remain closed. So the borders will remain closed, the airports will remain closed, I think so. But come June 30th all of the restrictions that we have internally will be removed. So you will have your night club, you will have your competitions for basketball and football and semi-pro basketball and comeback and finishing tournaments and the like. So, on a serious note, yes. Come June 30th, depending on what happens between now and June 30th we can go to normal with what we were doing before internally."

Channel 7


Re: Gov't of Belize Announces Further Easing of Lockdown Restrictions [Re: Marty] #542929
06/12/20 10:42 AM
06/12/20 10:42 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 67,506
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP

Re: Gov't of Belize Announces Further Easing of Lockdown Restrictions [Re: Marty] #542938
06/13/20 03:47 AM
06/13/20 03:47 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 67,506
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP

Summary of SI No 85 of 2020

Effective Friday, June 12, 2020

1. IS CURFEW STILL IN EFFECT?

Yes, curfew is still imposed and in effect for the entire country for BOTH Adults and Minors, 16 years and under from:

o Sunday to Thursday from 10:00 p.m. to 4:59 a.m.

o Friday to Saturday from 12:00 a.m. to 4:59 a.m.

However, minors, 16 years and under, MUST be accompanied by a parent or guardian during:

· The mornings from,

o Sunday to Saturday from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.

· The evenings from,

o Sunday to Thursday from 6:00 p.m. to 9:59 p.m.

o Friday to Saturday from 6:00 p.m. to 11:59 p.m.

No person shall be on the streets or in any public place nor on any public road during curfew.

2. WHO CAN MOVE DURING CURFEW?

● Members of the security forces, Customs and Excise Department, Department of Immigration Services who are on duty.
● Frontline health care providers on duty working for the Ministry of Health (including hospitals which are statutory bodies).
● Essential workers who possess a pass badge issued by the Minister of National Security.

3. MOVEMENT OUTSIDE CURFEW HOURS – WHO CAN MOVE AND FOR WHAT PURPOSES?

Everyone can move outside curfew hours and for any purpose whatsoever.

Persons MUST NOT loiter, wander, assemble or otherwise move in any public place and on any public road during non-curfew hours.

4. EXERCISE IS ALLOWED AT ANY TIME OUTSIDE THE CURFEW HOURS.

● Social distancing of a minimum of six feet distance must be maintained.
● In the case of cycling, no person can ride two abreast.

There is NO requirement for the use of a face mask or face covering while exercising.

5. WHAT ARE THE NEW RULES AS TO SPORTS, GYMS and PARKS?

· Sports

o All sporting activities are allowed EXCEPT for competitive sporting events.

o Persons WHILE participating in a sporting activity are exempt from practicing social distancing and from wearing a face mask or nose and mouth covering.

· Gyms

o Must close no later than 9:00 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday and 11:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

o All gyms MUST follow the guidelines issued by the National Sports Council.

· Parks

o All parks, playgrounds and other recreational grounds are OPEN.

6. WHICH BUSINESSES CAN OPERATE?

Every business or service can operate EXCEPT

● Discos, bars, rum shops, and nightclubs.
● Daycare centres, childcare centres, nurseries and other similar establishments or businesses.

7. WHEN CAN THOSE BUSINESSES OPERATE?

Every business or office can operate at the times as determined by their management according to their approved time as provided in their respective license or permit.

However, every business or office MUST CLOSE no later than:-

● 9:00 p.m. on Sundays to Thursdays.
● 11:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

8. ARE THERE ANY CONDITIONS FOR BUSINESSES WHICH ARE OPERATING?

Yes, for certain businesses there are conditions for how they are to carry out or operate their service or business.

9. WHAT ARE THESE CONDITIONS AND TO WHOM THEY APPLY?

● Hotels, villas, and other rental accommodations

o But shall not make or take any international bookings.

● Restaurants

o Dining must be made by reservation only.

o MUST observe a minimum distance of 6 feet between tables.

o A maximum of 10 guests of the same party can be seated together.

● Establishments which hold a publican’s special license operating as a restaurant and not as a bar (or similar business)

o MUST observe a minimum distance of 6 feet between tables.

o A maximum of 10 guests of the same party can be seated together.

● Beauty salons, spas, massage parlours, waxing parlours, and barber shops

o by appointment only,

o Only two customers can be allowed to be in a beauty salon or barbershop at any given time (the customer being attended to and the customer who is waiting),

o Where the square footage is such that social distancing protocols cannot be observed between both customers, there must only be one customer at a time;

● Casinos and Gaming establishments

o However, NO drinking or smoking shall be allowed,

o MUST observe a minimum of six feet between persons,

o ALL persons must wear a face mask or mouth covering.

10. WHAT ARE THE SOCIAL DISTANCING RULES?

● Every person MUST maintain a distance of at least six feet from another person.
● Every person MUST wear a face mask or nose and mouth covering in a public place, public space or public office or building.
HOWEVER, children UNDER the age of SIX YEARS are NOT required to wear a face mask or nose and mouth covering.
● Every employee of an approved business or office who has constant interaction with the public MUST wear a face mask or nose and mouth covering.

11. EVERY BUSINESS AND OFFICE MUST ABIDE BY THE SOCIAL DISTANCING PROTOCOLS AND MUST:

● Ensure that all customers and staff maintain a physical distancing of at least six feet in or outside their business.
● Determine the number of persons that can enter the establishment at any one time, depending on the square footage of the establishment and the social distancing protocols.
● Place distance markers of 6 feet apart, indicating where each customer must stand while

o In a line at a check out point; and

o OUTSIDE while waiting to enter the establishment.

12. WHAT ARE SOME ADDITIONAL MEASURES IN PLACE FOR BUSINESS PROCESS OUTSOURCING (BPO) COMPANIES?

· Every BPO company or business must maintain, at any given time, a number of employees that is proportionate to the square footage of the establishment.

· Every BPO must install or appoint a special internal auditor for COVID-19 who must submit a written weekly report to the Ministry of Health detailing the following:

o the number of employees and the number of employees who presented themselves to work during the reported week,

o the number of floors and supervisors being utilized,

o the number of employees who call in sick and who are working on a rotational basis,

o the protocols being implemented and observed by the BPO,

o any other information required by the Ministry responsible for health.

· The Ministry responsible for health can carry out spot checks and inspections to ensure compliance.

A BPO found in non-compliance with the provisions is liable to immediate closure by Notice served on the BPO under the hand of the Director of Health Services.

13. CAN I WORK FROM HOME?

Yes. If your employer allows you to operate from home AND your duties can be discharged from your home.

· Employees working from home should be available for work during that employee’s normal working hours.

· Employees are to report to the employer as required or instructed.

14. WHERE AN EMPLOYEE’S ASSIGNED TASKS CAN ONLY BE DISCHARGED AT HIS PLACE OF EMPLOYMENT

· That employee must report to work as instructed by the employer as permitted by the regulations.

· The employer must implement social distancing protocols under this regulation in addition to safety measured as advised by the Ministry of Health.

15. THE USE OF PUBLIC POOLS, BEACHES, AND RIVERS

All public pools, beaches and rivers are OPEN to the public

16. CAN CHURCHES OR PLACES OF PUBLIC WORSHIP OPERATE?

Yes. Churches or places of public worship can OPERATE in any facility or public place.

A congregation MUST consist of a maximum of 100 persons

· Every person MUST wear a face mask or other nose and mouth covering for the entire duration of the service except for the priest or pastor or other person conducting the service or sermon.

· Children, below the age of 12, CAN participate in any service.

17. WHAT ABOUT SOCIAL GATHERINGS?

A person CAN host or attend-

· A private party of no more than 100 persons which can include persons living outside the household

· A recreational event of not more than 100 persons

· A wedding which has more than 100 persons

· A banquet or reception

· Any social event

· A funeral which has more than 100 persons

· A meeting of fraternal society, private or social club, or organization

18. WHAT ABOUT PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION?

· Every person traveling on public transportation MUST wear a face mask or nose and mouth covering for the duration of the journey.

· Persons WILL NOT be allowed to board any form of public transportation if they are not wearing a face mask or nose and mouth covering.

· Public transportation is limited to seating capacity and social distancing of six feet shall not be observed.

· The transport operator shall have hand sanitiser for use by every passenger.

· Passengers must purchase a ticket before boarding the bus and MUST observe the six feet social distancing for an orderly boarding of the bus.

· The transport operator shall oversee the sanitisation of the means of public transportation on site at the terminal.

· Before boarding, every passenger must wash or sanitise his hands using the conveniences provided at the terminal. If you board the bus at a place other than the terminal, then you must sanitise your hands using the hand sanitiser provided by the bus operator.

· Everyone must follow the Ministry of Health guidelines.

19. IS THERE A RESTRICTION ON TRAVEL?

Yes. All ports of entry are and will remain closed for the purpose of travelling except for

· Cargo flights, cargo shipments and Commercial courier flights

· Emergency medical flights

· Emergency flights approved by the Minister of National Security

20. PORTS OF ENTRY AND EXIT

· All ports of entry into and out of Belize remain CLOSED. Therefore, anyone found entering or exiting Belize illegally is committing an offence and liable to

o An imposition of a mandatory quarantine AND three (3) months imprisonment for the first offence.

o An imposition of a mandatory quarantine AND one-year imprisonment for a second or subsequent offence.

21. WHAT HAPPENS IF I AM ARRESTED AND CHARGED FOR ENTERING OR EXITING BELIZE ILLEGALLY?

· You will be immediately tested for COVID-19 and then taken to court to be arraigned.

· If you cannot be immediately taken to court, you will be isolated in a cell at the nearest police station pending your arraignment.

· After your arraignment, whether you have been granted bail or not, you will be taken to a quarantine facility for a time determined by the Quarantine Authority.

· Once you finish the quarantine period you will

o Be released if granted bail or remanded to prison pending your trial, or

o If you are charged and found guilty of the offence, you will serve the time of imprisonment.

22. I AM BELIZEAN OR A PERMANENT RESIDENT OF BELIZE, CAN I RETURN TO BELIZE FROM ABROAD?

If you are Belizean or a Permanent Resident of Belize, you will be allowed to enter Belize from abroad if you are

· Recipient of urgent medical care abroad (with proof).

· Required to be in Belize to assist in an urgent medical situation.

· Returning student from being enrolled at or a graduate of an educational institution abroad.

· Returning Belizean National or Permanent Resident.

· Resident Belizean diplomat.

A Belizean allowed entry shall be put into immediate mandatory quarantine or self-isolation at the discretion of the Quarantine Authority.

Please DO NOT just show up at the border.

23. WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO ENTER BELIZE?

· If you qualify to enter as per the above, please apply to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or your nearest Embassy or Consulate for permission. They will provide you with further guidelines.

· Foreign diplomats resident in and accredited to Belize may also be allowed to enter Belize from abroad.

24. WHAT IS MANDATORY QUARANTINE?

If a person develops flu-like symptoms and suspects that they may be infected with COVID-19 or may have had contact with someone who has travelled to or from a country affected by COVID-19 you MUST

· Immediately inform the Ministry of Health

· At your own expense be placed into mandatory quarantine at the discretion of and for a time determined by the Quarantine Authority.

25. INFORMATION FOR MEDICAL OFFICERS

· No medical officer employed by the Government of Belize shall engage in any independent private practice during the period of public emergency.

· Medical officers independently employed shall report to the Director of Health Services any patient that he has attended to that exhibited flu-like symptoms or who has respiratory problems.

26. PENALTIES FOR NOT OBEYING THE LAW

· Any person who contravenes, incites, or attempts to incite any person to contravene any of these regulations commits an offence and is liable to a fine of $5,000 or imprisonment for two years.

· A person who is convicted of a second or subsequent offence under these regulations is liable to imprisonment for two years.

· Members of the security services may use force if necessary to ensure compliance with these Regulations.

· Any member of the security forces may enter any premises or board any ship or aircraft without a warrant.

· Any member of the security forces may arrest, without a warrant, any person whom he has reasonable cause to believe to have committed an offence.

These Regulations came into effect on Friday, June 12, 2020, and will remain in effect for the duration of the public emergency.



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