Belize Dry Cleaners - when it comes to dry cleaning they're the only game in town, and country!

The Belize City based business - which has been in operation for decades - is one of the last monopolies in the country.

But, now the dry cleaning service is another COVID casualty. The company suspended dry cleaning, steam pressing and Tuxedo rental services on March 1st. Why? The owner Lascelle Arnold told us that once the COVID curfews began in March of last year, his business declined sharply, because there were no parties, no weddings, no special events, no regular office hours, no court sessions and no nightlife. He says that because of this he made a loss every day he remained open last year. And coming into this year March, with the curfew and the limit on social gathering still in effect - he had to suspend dry cleaning, steam pressing and tuxedo rental services indefinitely. The company continues to offer laundry service and industrial laundry for hotels and hospitals.

And while Arnold hopes he can resume those services - for one faithful customer it can't be too soon. Well known public figure, Anne Marie Williams says that the entire country of Belize cannot be without a dry cleaner:

Ann-Marie Williams, Resident/Former Customer
"Yesterday I call a supervisor just to find out when they are cleaning this week, because it's a short week and then she said well we stop do that. And I like what you mean we stop do that, so when will you do it, after Easter? She said no, like February was the last day and I was appalled. I said what happened and like she wasn't giving any information and I say so what do you tell your customers and like well we are not doing it until further notice. I'm like what is further notice? But I couldn't make heads and tails out of it and then afterwards it must be Covid or something, but it is disheartening to say that a country of 450,000 plus people there is no dry cleaners. This is why government should provide some kind of support to these businesses. The businesses is design to make money and to keep people employed, but beyond that its part of our cooperate responsibility and its part of nation building to have these things. It like how do you not have a dry cleaners."

"Belize is already a country where it is difficult to do business. Belize rank among 195 economies in the ease of doing business according to the world bank."

"Have you encountered any other person who has been having this same difficulty, same complaint that they need their stuff dry cleaned and they have nowhere to take it."

Ann-Marie Williams, Resident/Former Customer
"I went to a wedding on Saturday and about 10 people they were talking and i heard one woman said that you know I put on this dress I hope it looks good because I ask my daughter to take my dress to the dry cleaners to get press, it was a new dress that they sent to me from the States and she was told that we don't have that again, she said how could that be and I experienced it first hand."

Williams says this is one of the pitfalls of having a monopoly on a service. The owner Lascelle Arnold says that COVID 19 has affected dry cleaners all across the world who have been hit hard by the lockdowns, with many going out of business.

Channel 7