It looks like Belize has finally re-set its reopening date for tourists—for real this time. After coronavirus concerns caused the country to scrap its original Aug. 15 reopening date, Belize recently announced that it would begin welcoming international visitors via Philip Goldson International Airport starting Oct. 1. However, visitors seeking the Belizean sun, sand, scuba, and eco-adventures should expect to have to jump through a few hoops to get to it all.
Belize isn’t taking chances when it comes to coronavirus. As the reopening reintroduces international travelers to the Central American destination, it will also introduce the government’s new Tourism Gold Standard Recognition Program and the new, handy-dandy Belize Health App.
According to the Belize Tourism Board website, travelers heading to Belize will need to download the new Belize Health app and, within 72 hours of their flight, fill out the required information via the app. On arrival, travelers will undergo a health screening and either need to provide proof of a negative PCR COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours or shell out about $50 for an on-site double-rapid test, if available. Anyone without evidence of a negative COVID-19 test or with a positive double rapid test will then proceed to a government-approved quarantine hotel for a mandatory 14-day quarantine, all at their own expense.
While in Belize, travelers will receive daily health check-ins through the app to assess their current symptoms, and anyone with new signs will be given tests and possible quarantines. Visitors will also be expected to wear masks in public spaces, maintain six feet of social distance, and practice enhanced hygiene while in Belize. Furthermore, all movement through the country must be through what is being called the ‘tourism safety corridor’—a network of Tourism Gold Standard Recognition Program certified hotels, restaurants, and tour operators.
During this initial reopening phase for tourism, only official Gold Standard hotels, restaurants, and tour operators are permitted to reopen for business. The goal? To create a level of trust and confidence in cleanliness by enhancing “the tourism industry’s health and safety standards” through “new behaviours and procedures” designed explicitly for safer travel during the pandemic.