On Saturday, August 15, Belize’s Philip Goldson International Airport will reopen to international travelers, officially marking the start of the third phase of the country’s overall reopening effort. But as Belize has experienced great success in keeping its COVID-19 numbers low (30 total cases with nine still active), the government has also announced a unique approach to keeping those numbers low while promoting contact tracing: the Belize Health App.
Visitors will be required to download this app and complete the required information within 72 hours of arrival, and a unique QR code and ID number will be assigned to every traveler. And like the other Caribbean nations that have already reopened or will soon welcome guests again, Belize requires all travelers to take a COVID PCR test with 72 hours of travel. The country currently has no travel bans in place, but all potential visitors are encouraged to check in with the Belize Tourism Board for updates.
In addition to the health app, guests will also experience a very specific, mandatory arrival process at the airport. Once passengers disembark, they will partake in a health screening that includes a temperature check with thermal imaging cameras and verification of previous test results. If a passenger has not been tested, he or she will be given a rapid test. Following the immigration check, guests will head to their hotels and once again check in on the Belize Health App before, hopefully, enjoying an incredible vacation.
Despite the airport’s reopening, not all hotels will welcome guests on August 15. For starters, the Belize government has implemented the Tourism Gold Standard program, which requires all hotels, restaurants and tour operators to pass a nine-point inspection and adhere to strict health and safety protocols. In addition to employees and guests wearing masks in all public spaces, hotels will use contactless and online check-in and payment procedures, and all public spaces and “high touch” areas will receive increased sanitization. Should any employees or guests exhibit symptoms, each hotel is required to have designated “isolation/quarantine rooms.”
Additionally, while some destinations and hotels are limiting amenities and activities, Belize is requiring its hotels to be at full operation, so as to keep all guests on property as much as possible. However, tour operators will be required to manage smaller groups and social distancing is required and will be enforced at all landmarks and tourism sites.