Chetumaleños forget about “healthy distance” and crowd the free zone of Belize

Belizean authorities acknowledged that there were far more people than expected, so sanitary control will be strengthened.

Hundreds of families, mainly from Chetumal, took advantage of the long weekend to practically swarm the Belize free zone, ignoring instructions from state authorities to stay at home to avoid COVID-19 infections.

From an early hour, a line of several kilometers of vehicles was observed, waiting at least one hour to enter the tax haven, after passing through the Chactemal precinct on the Mexican side.

As part of the mandatory sanitary measures activated by the free zone authorities, the mobile units had to first pass through the phytosanitary control post for external sanitation.

Afterward, they obtained the Border Control Pass document from the Immigration office , which stated that they have to return to Mexico the same day. The 15 peso fee that was paid to enter was canceled.

Daniel Torres Mora, director of the Corozal Free Zone Chamber of Commerce, explained that in the reopening on February 1st, there was more movement than expected and the managers will have a meeting to improve the entry process.

For the businessmen of that area, the reopening was urgent for the economic reactivation and to sell all the goods that have remained inside warehouses for 10 months due to the pandemic.

He said that for now 70% (191) of the 273 stores open at 10 in the morning until 6 in the afternoon; while 82 are still closed. He recalled that over the weekend 380 rapid tests were applied to workers and employers, which were negative; but they await the results of another 72 PCR tests.