While an indefinite curfew is already a huge obstacle for the tourism industry, things are about to get a lot worse.
The industry barely survived the pandemic, and just when things are slowly picking up, the new US President has made an announcement that could deal a deadly blow to an already struggling industry.
Only a day after taking office, President Joe Biden has signed an executive order that not just mandates face masks on public transportation, but also requires international travellers to quarantine for ten days upon return. The executive order is entitled, "Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel". In a tweet introducing an address to the people, President Biden said that he will be taking decisive action to get COVID-19 under control in the US.
But what does this mean for Belize? Well if tourists must quarantine when they return to the US, it's not exactly an incentive to travel. With tourists just barely trickling into Belize, this new mandate can thin that already sparse amount. More on this tomorrow.Channel 7
==============International travellers entering the USA will have to quarantine for 10 days
Newly inaugurated President Joe Biden has signed an executive order mandating anyone returning to the United States of America (USA) to a ten-day quarantine on arrival, consistent with CDC (Center for Disease Control) guidelines. No date was announced as to when this policy will go into effect. In Ambergris Caye, several stakeholders have already shared their concerns regarding the mandatory self-quarantine tourists will be subjected to when returning to the USA. The island’s leading economy is tourism, and many believe that this policy will affect the industry. Tourism has slowly been returning on the island, and during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, island stakeholders reported a satisfactory level of tourism business.
After hearing news of President Biden’s executive order, one business owner stated that tourism was already in jeopardy when visitors were required to take a rapid test for COVID-19 upon arriving in Belize and then need to get a second one before leaving the country. The costs of the tests can be over US$100 per person. According to the stakeholder, with a mandatory 10-day quarantine, travellers may shorten their vacation or cancel it. “This can be very, but very bad for tourism coming from the USA,” another concerned business owner said. Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun
================Quarantine After International Travel Now Required for Those Arriving in the U.S.
On his first full day in office, President Joe Biden has announced more requirements for travelers to the U.S. Aside from providing negative COVID-19 test results before boarding, all travelers coming from abroad—U.S. citizens and permanent residents included—will have to follow CDC recommendations and quarantine after international travel for 10 days upon arrival. The executive order expands on the previous administration’s pre-testing policy , set to go into effect on January 26.
Anyone traveling to the States by plane “will need to test before they get onto that plane before they depart and quarantine when they arrive in America,” the president said in a press conference . The official details around the quarantine after international travel—including when it will go into effect—are under review by a number of federal agencies that deal with air travel and public health.Pre-Testing Before Boarding Effective Jan. 26
In the next two weeks, that pre-testing policy will also be under review by Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, Federal Aviation Administration, Transportation Security Administration, and CDC leadership. President Biden has asked the HHS and Homeland Security secretaries to take “appropriate regulatory action” as necessary, like restricting which types of COVID-19 tests are accepted, adjusting how travelers provide proof of negative results, and offering additional options for those who don’t have access to testing in the country they’re traveling from, the order states. The review would also address “COVID-19 vaccination, follow-up testing and symptom-monitoring, air filtration requirements, environmental decontamination standards, and contact tracing” for travelers, the executive order said.
Under the previous administration’s plan, airlines are responsible for collecting and verifying test results. That could change, as during the review period, President Biden is asking the federal agencies involved to “identify agencies’ tools and mechanisms to assist travelers in complying with such policy,” hopefully formalizing the policy past the boarding process.
The executive order also asks federal agencies to consider what a vaccination certificate process —like the vaccination paperwork (called an ICVP) used for yellow fever—would look like during this pandemic. Updates from the agencies will come within the next week.
This article originally appeared on Condé Nast Traveler.
=====================White House Executive Order on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel