When you wake up on Wednesday, July first life will be as close to normal as it has been since March. There will be no state of emergency, no curfew, and all businesses, bars and nightclubs can open. Basically, you can pretty much go back to life as it was before, with a few notable exceptions.
We'll get to those, but first to the new normal - which is kind of like the old normal. Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte explained on Ask The Experts this afternoon:Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, Attorney General"The government has decided that we have reached the point where we no longer have to institute a state of emergency. We no longer need a curfew, so come June 30th we are not under a state of emergency anymore. We are under rules and regulations govern by the quarantine act signed by the minister of health. There will be no more curfew, so we are free to roam as we want to roam in terms of time, but remember I want to make this very clear there will be no more curfew, but under the law even before Covid-19 and even up to now you must be moving with a purpose. So you cannot be wondering about the place aimlessly at 1am in the morning simply because there is no curfew. There is still on the books public morale laws which states that if you are wandering without a purpose at one in the morning you can be arrested and charge for that. We will not be come July 1st a lawless country. That will not happen. Some people believe its wild west come July 1st, but will not be the case. There are certain laws we didn't use to enforce before, but we will enforce them now, because then we are still not out of the woods."Life As Normal, But With Masks, All The Time!
So, as you heard, the state of emergency curfew is going away - but there will still be some strictures on social living.
And two things that will remain firmly in place under the quarantine authority - are the requirements to wear a mask in public, and to social distance. These remain the law - even after the state of emergency has been lifted.
Here's how the Attorney General put it:Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, Attorney General"Social distancing, we must maintain that six feet whenever we can maintain that six feet apart. There will be some exceptions but whenever we can social distant the law will require us to social distance. The second big thing is this, the mask. You must wear your mask every chance you get any time you can wear it, wear it. Especially in public you will be require for you to wear and we will be enforcing it. You see it is this, all bar can open now. All night club can open now. All shops can open now. You can go anywhere you want now. You can practically do all the legally social things that we used to do before. You can do all of them now. However, you must wear a mask and in certain circumstance you don't have to. So I don't know it will work but if somebody open their night club and party, you have to wear a mask."Eight Times When You Donít Need A Mask
But, there are times - eight of them to be exact - when you don't have to wear a mask. The AG outlined those specifically:Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, Attorney General"You don't have to wear the mask at your house, private residence. If you are home you don't have to wear a mask and who are visiting you don't have to wear the mask either. While you are exercising, while you are engaging in any sporting activity: swimming, driving alone or driving with immediate family member in the car, riding a motorcycle or bicycle, if you a priest pastor member of the choir or other person conducting the service or sermon of a church or other place of worship or you are at a restaurant eating - if you are any one of those things or engage in any one of those activities you don't have to wear the mask. Anything else you must wear the mask."
"You don't have to social distance the 6 feet if you are part of the same group of people swimming or if you are playing sports or if you are attending church or at a restaurant, bar, casino or other similar establishment - naturally you will be close to each other. If you are a person at a discotek or at a nightclub you can't social; distance, but for those ones that never mentioned above, you have to wear mask. So you don't have to social distance in the club, but you have to wear a mask, you don't have to social distance at a casino but you have to wear mask, you don't have to social distance at a bar, but you have to wear mask. Smoking is allowed in the casino again, so when you are smoking you pull off your mask, take your 2 draw and put on back your mask."
So, to be clear, these are the times when you DO NOT have to wear a mask:Even With SOE Lifted, Borders Remain Closed
So while all those rules now constitute normal, non-state-of-emergency life in the COVID era, there's one more thing: don't even think that this would be a good time for a Chetumal or Melchor run.
Apart from the fact that cases in Mexico and Guatemala are spiking, the borders remain closed - and there are still stiff penalties for border jumpers:Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, Attorney General"I want to make ir very clear; the borders are closed. If you come in illegally, you are committing an offence whether you are a Belizean or not. If you don't have the permission to come in you will be arrested and charge and you could be spending up to 3 months in prison. Why? we want to ensure that the people who are coming into the country are closely monitored, so they don't make the rest of us sick."
If you are at home, if you are exercising, if you are engaged in a sporting activity, if you are swimming, if you are driving alone or with your family members in the car, if you are riding a motorbike of bicycle, if you are in a church, or if you are in a restaurant.Channel 7