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Aug 4, 2021

Tourism C.E.O.: Vaccination Required, Negative Tests Not Accepted for Tourism Workers

Nicole Solano

While more than eighty percent of tourism stakeholders have taken their COVID vaccinations, some of them, along with those remaining unvaccinated have voiced concerns over what they feel are privileges being afforded to unvaccinated tourists taken on “bubble” tours.  On Tuesday, tour operator Nickoli Alvarado, who represents the Belize Local Association of Stakeholders in Tourism or BLAST, told News Five that its membership feels that the new COVID regulations unfairly compels them to get vaccinated while their guests, the tourists who they chaperone, are unvaccinated people who can get infected in transit and pass the virus or variants on to them. While the regulations are guided by officials at the Ministry of Health and Wellness, today, C.E.O. in the Ministry of Tourism and Diaspora Relations, Nicole Solano said that in reviewing the concerns raised, the ministry sought clarification from the Attorney General’s Ministry. She pointed out that tourism workers are included in the category of people who are considered “frontline workers,” hence they are required to take the shots.


Nicole Solano, C.E.O., Ministry of Tourism & Diaspora Relations

“There were some areas within the SI that we weren’t clear on. For example, it mentions tour sites. We wanted to clarify which sites that referred to. We were informed that those sites would be any site that normally requires a check-in or when a guide arrives at the site, they would need to make a payment or present some form of I.D. and that is the case about archaeological sites. So the clarification was received that it would be at archaeological sites. There was also a need to clarify what the vaccination card needs to say – whether it would require one dose or both doses. We received the clarification that as long as the tour guide or the tour operator has at least one dose of the vaccine that they would be allowed to enter.   In the case of tour guides and tour operators, in the new legislation, or the new S.I. that just came out, a negative test will not be accepted. Tour guides and tour operators would need to present a vaccination card.   There’s a small percentage of people who we are aware are not vaccinated and when I say small percentage – we’re hearing numbers upwards of ninety percent being vaccinated, so when it comes to tourism frontline workers, the vast majority of them are vaccinated.”

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