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Virtual Press Conference: Undate on COVID-19 & Tourism Industry #543157
06/25/20 04:26 AM
06/25/20 04:26 AM
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Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP
Tune in today, Thursday, June 25, at 10:00 a.m. for a live stream of the Prime Minister's Virtual Press Conference: Update on COVID-19 and Tourism Industry.

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Re: Virtual Press Conference: Undate on COVID-19 & Tourism Industry [Re: Marty] #543174
06/25/20 10:24 AM
06/25/20 10:24 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 67,506
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Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP
Live now... Prime Minister's Press Conference | June 25th, 2020
Update on COVID-19 and the Tourism Industry


Re: Virtual Press Conference: Undate on COVID-19 & Tourism Industry [Re: Marty] #543175
06/25/20 10:26 AM
06/25/20 10:26 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 67,506
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Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP
Prime Minister of Belize Announces Opening of Intl. Airport August 15, 2020.The PM was quoted as saying "We decided any further delay would gain us nothing from a safety standpoint..."

"We always knew that no date will be risk-free but we equally knew that our eventual choice would have to be seen as giving us the best chance of squaring the circle, of reconciling the divide between the imperatives of safety and the urgent need for the tourism restart," the PM said.

The reopening of the airport will come with the introduction of a comprehensive set of protocols to safeguard lives, which will include the testing of all persons arriving through the PGIA, Mr Barrow said.

The rate of increase in the US, particularly Florida, is alarming.
All people coming in will be tested.

The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) has simultaneously launched their reopening plans for hotels, restaurants and tour operators. The new guidelines outline the enhanced health and safety protocols which are being introduced as part of the Government of Belize, the Belize Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Health, and the BTB’s commitment to keep Belizeans, tourism dependent communities, and visitors safe from the risks related to Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-COV-2) that causes COVID-19. With the release of these protocols, Belize’s tourism industry can prepare for the international arrivals of travellers starting August 15, 2020.

Upon the airport reopening, travellers will be subject to new guidelines set out for entry, which will include a COVID-19 test and some limitations.

Judith Alpuche: Safety remains in mind as PGIA reopens
CEO of the Ministry of Human Development and chair of the National Task Force on […]

Prime Minister announces PGIA will reopen on August 15
Belize’s only international airport, the Philip Goldson International Airport, will reopen on August 15 after […]


Re: Virtual Press Conference: Undate on COVID-19 & Tourism Industry [Re: Marty] #543178
06/25/20 11:50 AM
06/25/20 11:50 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 67,506
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP
***PACK YOUR BAGS - BELIZE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT SCHEDULED FOR RE-OPENING AUGUST 15TH, 2020***

International Flights will resume to Belize on August 15th, 2020. It will not be a full open door policy.

It will be a staggered and phased opening with extreme pre-caution, giving preference to hotels with full amenities.

The rate of increase in the United States is great cause for concern.

It is noted that all international travellers coming in will be tested.

The guiding principle of Belize is safety of our country.

How do we mitigate risks?

1) Continue testing and fine-tuning with recent repatriation flights
2) Continue to fine-tune up to August 15th
3) Continue to social distance, mask-wearing, public safety/mitigation measures – critical “first measures”

Here are some highlights and process of the re-opening phase:

- Phase One: May 15th, 2020: Domestic Travel and Repatriation to Belize
- Phase Two: June
- -Phase Three: August 15th – all travelers to Belize will be required to download App before boarding flight to Belize (contact tracing)

If the passenger presents a Positive result of a PCR test taken within 72 hrs. of arrival, you will be able to fast track through arrivals/customs.

If a passenger has No PCR test etc, they will be tested with a Rapid Test on Arrival at the airport. If Passenger comes back Positive, they will be quarantined for 14 days at their own expense.

More will be posted when the conference is over.

Re: Virtual Press Conference: Undate on COVID-19 & Tourism Industry [Re: Marty] #543180
06/25/20 12:04 PM
06/25/20 12:04 PM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 67,506
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP
Prime Minister Announces Reopening Date for Philip Goldson International Airport

Today, during a virtual press conference, the Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow announced a reopening date of August 15th, 2020 for the Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA).

The reopening of the PGIA marks the third stage in Belize’s five-phase reopening strategy for tourism. In May, the Prime Minister lessened restrictions under the state of emergency, which saw the reopening of hotels for domestic tourism. Additionally, Belizean crew members were repatriated from cruise ships.

Earlier this month, the second phase commenced with a phased repatriation program led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Under the carefully-phased program, Belizean citizens -- particularly those in dire situations – have been approved re-entry to the country.

Though dates have yet to be announced, phase four will see the full reopening of the overnight tourism sector, including land borders and other smaller ports, and concluding with the resumption of cruise tourism in phase five.

During the press conference, Mrs. Karen Bevans, Director of the BTB detailed the new protocols for visitors arriving via the PGIA as well as enhanced health and safety protocols for hotels, restaurants, and tour operators. Details of the new standards can be found on the BTB’s website at www.belizetourismboard.org.

The press conference also included presentations from CEO Judith Alpuche, Chair of the National Task Force; Dr. George Gough, CEO in the Ministry of Health; Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services; and Mr. Michael Singh, Chief Technology Officer.

==============================

PGIA Airport will open Aug 15, 2020. It is a phased approach.

To ensure health and safety of all:

• Passengers will need to download and complete a health app prior to boarding. This app will help you to be cleared upon arrival (Where you've been, any test results can be uploaded, contact tracing while in Belize, etc). Immigration and customs forms will eventually be available through this app also. (App not available yet)
• If you're willing and able to provide PCR test result within 72 hrs of travel, you will be fast tracked (fast lane) upon arrival. If not, you'll go on for a rapid test, temperature check and review of you health app. Cost of rapid test will be your cost. If positive, then 14 day quarantine at your cost.
• Once cleared, go on to customs and immigration as per usual
• Must wear a mask in airport at all times. Must wear masks in public places in country.
• Social distancing (6ft apart) will apply
• Phased approach to which hotels will be allowed to open (full service hotels, that provide transportation, have pool or beach, have restaurants, and provide private tours).

**American Airlines, Delta and United will be flying here as of Aug 15**

==================================

International Airport and tourism industry set to open on August 15

Prime Minister Right Honourable Dean Barrow addressed the nation on Thursday, June 25th, via a virtual press conference updating on the current COVID-19 crisis and announcing the opening of Belize’s only international airport. The Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA) north of Belize City will be prepared to open on August 15, 2020, a decision made in conjunction with the Ministry of Health after carefully reviewing the effects of the ongoing pandemic. According to Barrow, rigorous safety protocols will be in place to minimize potential outbreaks as the travel/tourism industry begins to open in phases, prioritizing the wellbeing of Belizeans and visitors alike.

BTB’s Director Karen Bevans explained their plan and what visitors need to do before traveling to Belize. According to her presentation, all travellers will be required to download the ‘Belize Health App’ and fill in the information necessary before heading to Belize. The passenger will receive a code, which will be used for contact tracing while in the country. Passengers will need to book accommodations in advance and will also have the option for a PCR COVID-19 test done 72 hours before arrival. If this is not done, a rapid test will be done at the airport at the expense of the traveller. When in Belize, all visitors are required to adhere to Belize’s health protocols such as social distancing and the wearing of masks.

Bevans mentioned that hotels would open in phases, and those allowed to operate must first achieve the Tourism Gold Standard Certification of Recognition. These hotels will be required to provide all the necessary services to tourists to contain them on the said properties. These include providing transportation to the resort, in house restaurants, pools, or beachfront. This is to minimize any interactions within the community. Bevans explained that as they monitor the situation, other establishments within the community will be allowed to offer their services to visitors. This certification is also expected to be acquired by tour operators, and hotels referring their guests to a tour operator must ensure it has the proper accreditation from BTB.

Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun



Re: Virtual Press Conference: Undate on COVID-19 & Tourism Industry [Re: Marty] #543187
06/26/20 04:44 AM
06/26/20 04:44 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 67,506
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP

Channel 7

The Countdown Begins: 51 Days to Tourism
COVID-19 shut down tourism at the end of March. But, tonight, there's hope on the horizon for Belize's main foreign exchange earner, and the thousands who've been jobless for three months now. The Prime Minister held a press conference with his key advisors to announce the date for the tourism re-opening at a virtual press conference this morning. Jules Vasquez has the story: Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize: "We are able now to announce a firm re-opening date for the PGIA. That date ladies and gentlemen, is August 15, 2020."

Why Open Now?
And, as the PM said, there's no perfect time to re-open in the present global climate. But many would argue, that with the US facing a major spike in cases across 20 states - now is the worst time. The Prime Minister explained that - apart from the nosedive in Belize's economy - there were also other external factors that forced the re-opening: "I hear you that if we it appeared to be particularly dangerous to do so at this time, when you don't expect, we don't expect a huge flow, why don't we wait until November?...."

Belizeans Will Be Able To Return Without Quarantine
And, the opening for tourism also gives Belizeans who have been stuck abroad a chance to return home - without having to go through that expensive mandatory 14-day quarantine. It works out to about $1,500 Belize dollars for the two weeks in complete lockdown at a designated hotel. Starting on August 15th, returning Belizeans will be able to avoid that - but on the condition that they bring a PCR test which says they are COVID negative. Failing that, they will need to take one when the return. The PM explained:

The Problems With A PCR Test
So, returning Belizeans are encouraged to have a PCR test which shows them as negative for COVID 19 within 72 hours of them travelling. But how realistic is that? First off, it's hard enough to get a PCR test done in the states, and those who can get one, will struggle to get it back in three days. Second, it's only a test of the moment when the patient took it - they could have contracted the virus after that, especially when travelling through airports. We asked about that limitation today:

Will SNAFU's Undermine Airport Testing?
We also asked the Director of Health Services how the Ministry of Health hopes to manage doing dozens of varied types of COVID 19 tests daily when the airport re-opens. Our information suggests that even keeping up with the testing regimen for repatriates has been somewhat of a challenge. We have heard stories of extended delays in getting tests returned to those repatriates, and also of samples getting lost in the system. We asked about that today:

Can Tourist Tracking App Work In Real World Setting?
And apart from testing tourists and repatriates at the airport, one of the major features for keeping any possible COVID cases contained is tracking tourists. As you heard earlier a travel app will be used for that. But, from our review of global news, these are less than an ideal way to track a virus whose transmission doesn't follow the logic of an app. Mike Singh - Chief Technology Officer, CITO" "I don't think we will have 100% accuracy. Most people don't leave their phones, I don't know if you leave your phone whenever you go anywhere because it's now become part of our human being. Elon Musk said we are all cyborgs because we have this device attached to us 24/7..."

Almost A High Speed Collision With Highway Patrol
The driver and passengers of a highway patrol vehicle are lucky to be alive after a near head-on collision at full-speed with a sand truck. It happened this afternoon at 3:30 at mile 9 on the George Price Highway just before Sunset Park.

BTIA Ready For Tourism To Reopen
At the top of the news we told you about the August 15th re-opening of the PGIA. We got reaction from the head of the Belize Hotel Association and the Belize Tourism Industry Association. We start with the BTIA where the Executive Director told us that members of the Association have already been doing their own preparations for the day when visitors would be allowed to travel to Belize. Via teleconference this evening, he shared his views on the role that the Government and the industry stakeholders need to take, in order for the recovery of the industry to properly begin:

BHA Rearing For Re-opening
And while the BTIA is striving to meet expectations, the BHA is expressing its excitement at GOB's decision to finally set a reopening date. And BHA President Ted Tejada says that hotels need to re-start their marketing campaigns in an attempt to recapture the wanderlust lost during COVID-19: "We have been receiving comments after the prime minister announced and first of all let's congratulate the entire team that has been working on it because it hasn't been easy. We know that the team has taken everything into consideration, the medical results and all the experts out there asked what is happening in Jamaica and these countries that have already re-opened. We have been tracking that everyday, so congratulations to the team and we are all excited that a date has been set..."

Masks Going Nowhere
And if there are celebrations of any kind - they may have to be with masks on. The PM confirmed today that even after the state of emergency is repealed next week, there will be statuary instruments to make sure that the requirement of wearing masks and keeping social distance remain in place: "Under the Quarantine Act, SIs will be signed and promulgated, in this case by the director of Health Services, requiring, as a matter of law, the wearing of masks and the practicing of the social distance prescriptions. So, nothing will change in that regard. You do not need a state of emergency superstructure to provide for the policing of those core restrictions that will remain and that will be promulgated afresh now by an SI or perhaps a pair of SIs."

Will US Tourists Follow Mask Protocol?
And while returning Belizeans may have to cool their heels in quarantine, what may be even more of a challenge is getting US visitors to wear masks. If you follow the news, you'll know that many Americans reject wearing a mask as a fetter on their individual freedom. Well, the PM says if that's the way they feel about it, please stay home:

Channel 5

A Reopening Date for P.G.I.A. is Finally Set!
While the tourism industry weeks ago reopened for domestic tourism, the big news today when Prime Minister Dean Barrow gave a press conference is the long awaited date for the [...]

August Fifteenth is the Grand Reopening
An initial planned date for the reopening of the P.G.I.A. had been set for August first.  But concerns pertaining to the timeline, in respect of testing and all protocols, prompted [...]

Belize Health App Will Track Visitors Entering Via P.G.I.A.
A novel feature of the international travel experience during these COVID times is the use of a mobile application to track the whereabouts of visitors arriving from the United States.  [...]

Mandatory Quarantine to be Foot at Visitor’s Expense
It is not expected that a flood of visitors will be arriving in the months ahead, particularly because we are presently in the low season for overnight and cruise arrivals.  [...]

A Gold Standard for Hotels Amid Reopening of Tourism Industry
As for the hotel sector, a new programme is being introduced to certify participating businesses with a gold standard for meeting all the requirements on a nine-point checklist.  All hotels [...]

PCR Testing will also be Used at P.G.I.A.
Bask to the protocols for the re-opening of the P.G.I.A.  Testing for COVID-19 is a process that can be completed within an hour and a half using an analyzer that [...]

Lessons Learned from Jamaica and Antigua
Are there any lessons to be learned from Jamaica and Antigua; both countries opened their airports a few weeks ago and have seen a spike in imported COVID-19 cases.  Despite [...]

P.G.I.A. Reopens on the Heels of a New School Year
The reopening of the P.G.I.A. comes five days after the beginning of the new school year and there are concerns that with new arrivals in the country there may be [...]


Re: Virtual Press Conference: Undate on COVID-19 & Tourism Industry [Re: Marty] #543188
06/26/20 04:44 AM
06/26/20 04:44 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 67,506
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP
For more information on the airport re-opening and the restarting of tourism CLICK HERE


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