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Apr 30, 2020

A New Relaxed S.O.E. Comes Into Effect on Labor Day

Dean Barrow

There have not been any new cases of COVID-19 for seventeen days, so beginning May first, which is the extended Labour Day weekend, there will be a further relaxation of measures imposed under the state of emergency. The S.O.E. has caused tremendous losses to businesses and those persons who are not classified as essential services have generally had to confine themselves to their homes. So now, businesses are beginning to reopen with some restrictions and there can be more movements internally.  But first, persons who step out in public must now wear masks and adhere to social distancing guidelines. That is the new normal for now to prevent the contagious virus to spread.  The announcement was made today by Prime Minister Barrow among a number of changes to kick in on Friday morning.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“There is a substantial easing that the new regime will bring.  I’m also pleased to say that the new measures are the product of an agreement between both the National Oversight Committee and the Cabinet of Belize.  Before I go any further I must make one thing clear, there is no way, in those famous words of President Bush, that we can declare mission accomplished.  We see what is happening now as a breathing space, a somewhat uneasy truth.  We will use the opportunity to plan, to prepare for the distinct possibility of a second wave of cases.  If that hits, we ask our people to be ready to do it all over again, including returning to the most draconian of lockdowns.  Hotels will also now reopen, if they so choose to cater to a Belizean clientele.  Their restaurants will be limited though to providing room service and takeout meals.  As a result of all this, the general restriction on movement is being lifted to the extent that it will now permit the public to attend at the various government and private businesses for such services as they require in addition to the purchase of supplies and essential needs.  The relaxation, the opening up, is not a free for all.  Every business activity, all economic operations, are subject to the social distancing requirements.  No public establishment can suffer any member of the public to enter its premises without wearing a face mask, and managers and staff must themselves wear the masks.  Also, none can operate without putting in place the six-foot dividers to keep both staff and the public properly spaced.”

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