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