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COVID-19 Coronavirus Updates from Central America

UPDATED: November 29th 2021

All our staff and their families are currently safe and well. Our head office in Guatemala and our secondary office in Costa Rica will be open and working adhering to all local legal requirements and international health requirements. Staff are working from home nowadays.

Our 24-hour support line remains active, as always, on +502 5778-4801 & 5778-4922.

For any urgent matters or other coronavirus updates please do not hesitate to get in touch with the company directors:

Noe Carrillo, General Manager | noe.carrillo@viaventure.com

Becky Harris, Director | becky.harris@viaventure.com

James Goller, Director | james.goller@viaventure.com

We sincerely hope all of you are weathering this worldwide crisis in the best possible way. Our hearts go out to all of those most in need at this time.

Keep safe

~Viaventure Team


On the ground

Belize

Effective August 9th, 2021 all travellers, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, entering Belize from other countries will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test. All travellers entering Belize at the Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA) will be required to present a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within 96 hours of arrival or a negative result from any approved Antigen Rapid Test taken within 48 hours of arrival. If no test is presented, a COVID-19 test will be administered at the airport for a fee of USD $50 per passenger. Children under the age of 5 years will not be required to present a negative test; but children 5 years and older will be required to present a negative test. All travellers entering Belize through the Northern and Western Borders will be administered a Rapid Test for COVID-19 by the Ministry of Health and Wellness, at their own expense. No external COVID-19 PCR or Rapid Test will be accepted at these points of entry.

Curfew: Sunday to Thursday curfew (countrywide) from 10:00 PM to 4:00 AM. For Friday and Saturday the curfew period will go from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. *Effective Nov 1 to Dec 1, 2021.  Additionally, the requirement to present a vaccine card before entering a restaurant has been removed from the regulations.

Water Taxi Belize International Airport to San Pedro and/or Caye Caulker available.

Domestic Flights Gold Standard Certified roundtrip flights from the Belize City to San Pedro to Placencia available via local Airlines.

These measures are being put in place in view of the increased risks posed by recent variants of the Covid-19 virus and in an effort to protect both international visitors and the local population.

Presently, The Government of Belize (GOB) does not currently have any travel bans in place. They encourage visitors to visit www.travelbelize.org regularly for updates on Covid-19, as the situation remains fluid.

A series of new enhanced health and safety protocols have been put in place to protect visitors, Belizeans, and our communities. These include:

Mandatory use of face masks in public spaces
Enforcement of physical distancing measures in public spaces and capacity restrictions at restaurants, grocery stores, retail stores, etc.
Introduction of the “Tourism Gold Standard Program” which seeks to enhance the tourism industry’s health and safety standards by adapting new behaviours and procedures to ensure both employees and travellers are confident in the cleanliness and safety of Belize’s tourism product.

Tourism Gold Standard Program measures include:
Online check-in/out, contactless payment systems, and automated ordering/booking systems.
Hand sanitizing stations.
Enhanced cleaning and sanitization of public spaces and high touch surfaces.
Capacity restrictions for all tourism sites to ensure physical distancing can be maintained.
Smaller tour groups to provide a more intimate tour experience.

The institute of Archaeology (NICH) Belize announced: “WE ARE OPEN” The following sites are open for visitation effective immediately: Santa Rita, Cerro Maya, Lamanai, ATM, Altun Ha, Cahal Pech, Caracol, El Pilar, Xunantunich, Serpon, Nim Li Punit, Lubaantun. We look forward to welcoming visitors to the sites. Please practice social distancing and proper hygiene.

Costa Rica

All international tourists are permitted to enter Costa Rica by air, land and sea. Tourists must meet the visa requirements, when applicable, as well as the requirements established in the framework of the pandemic. The Government of Costa Rica does not require tourists entering by air, land or sea to present a negative COVID-19 test, nor quarantine upon arrival. Tourists visiting Costa Rica are requested to abide by the sanitary protocols in place when participating in tourist activities throughout the country.

Essential services are open. Hospitals are operating at normal capacity. Facial coverings are required in all public spaces and in all indoor settings except when eating, while alone, or in a private home. The use of facial coverings is also mandatory at bus stops and on all forms of public transportation. Face shields can continue to be worn, but only if a face covering is worn underneath. Face coverings can be either surgical or homemade if they cover the nose and mouth. The Ministry of Health has stated facial coverings should not include venting devices to provide maximum protection against COVID-19.

Motorists nationwide will be banned from using private transport between 23:00 – 05:00. Businesses will only be able to operate between 05:00 – 23:000 daily.  “Tourist transportation won’t be affected by this however is recommended to always have a prove of being traveling as a tourist and in transfers from airport to hotel, or moving from one hotel to another”.

Airlines will review COVID-19 test results for passengers either during the airline security question process or when they speak to an agent at the counter. Passengers attempting to leave Costa Rica without valid proof of negative COVID-19 test results or documentation from a licensed health care provider of having recovered from COVID-19 in the 90 days preceding travel will not be allowed to board the plane.

More Info HERE

Guatemala

Foreigners from the United Kingdom (including Northern Ireland) are now permitted to enter Guatemala.

The Minister of Health, Francisco Coma, detailed this Friday (Nov. 26th 2021)  the entry restrictions to the country of people from several countries as a result of the new variant of the covid-19, called omicron. During a conference, Health authorities reported that citizens or people who have been in the last 14 days in eight countries are prohibited from entering. These nations are South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Egypt, and Eswatini.

The Government of Guatemala has no curfew in place now.

Public gatherings and movement:
Open-air public or private gatherings are limited, as well as public demonstrations, and other events and demonstrations that affect free movement or public services. The use of virtual platforms is encouraged where possible.
The authorities may request the dissolution, and may terminate by force if necessary, any meetings or public demonstrations that are unauthorized or take place without the necessary sanitary measures.
Authorities may request those who travel internally within Guatemala to declare the nature of their travel, and present documentation related to their itinerary.

Mask-wearing and social distancing:
Masks must be worn in public or governmental spaces and establishments, private spaces and establishments open to the public, and private entities offering restricted-access services, including any form of transportation or transit.  Exceptions are granted only for children under age 2, and those with a certified medical exception.  Non-compliance is subject to criminal penalty.
Individuals must maintain social distancing of at least 1.5 meters.

Alcohol consumption and sale:
The consumption of alcoholic beverages in commercial establishments, and in public spaces is prohibited between 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.
The sale of alcoholic beverages is prohibited between 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.  Local municipalities may adapt their own local schedule to the one decided by the Guatemala Government.

Public and commercial establishments:
Public spaces (public parks, municipal parks, beaches, lakes, rivers, tourist resorts, water parks and theme parks) operate at normal, and must close at 11:00 p.m.
Markets will operate at normal between 05:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
Supermarkets, stores, shopping centers and malls may operate at normal hours
Bars and entertainment establishments may operate at 50 percent of capacity, and must close at 11:00 p.m.
Home delivery services may operate without restrictions.
Restrictions on funerals and mass burials remain in place, regardless of the cause of death.

Nicaragua

To enter Nicaragua by air, both national and foreign citizens must present at the Augusto C. Sandino International Airport a negative PCR test with a validity period of no more than 72 hours, which was previously sent electronically to the airline that transfers it. In the case of citizens from Asia, Africa and Oceania, the test should not be longer than 96 hours. Authorities do not accept Antigen tests only PCR.

People who wish to visit the country, both by air and land. They must fill out an online form from the Ministry of the Interior; an agile, orderly and secure application for admission, which must be submitted at least seven days before entering Nicaragua. Online Form

In Nicaragua there is no curfew presently and there is free mobilization throughout the country. You can travel to all departments through public transport.

Coronavirus Update – Only has a few cases so far, but unfortunately, the Government does not yet seem to be taking the crisis seriously and we have not yet heard of any official isolation orders although we have told all our staff to do so.  Nicaraguans going into Costa Rica illegally have tested positive for the virus which makes all of us think they situation is far worse than reported.

El Salvador

As of June 7, the number of new daily COVID-19 cases is down to 41 in El Salvador, compared to 142 per day in May. El Salvador has given out more than 2 million vaccine doses, enough for nearly 21.3% of its 6.5 million people. El Salvador continues to utilize funding from the World Bank in their fight against the pandemic. The pandemic, natural disasters and gang violence have all contributed to a huge increase in hunger in El Salvador, especially in rural areas. Essential services such as medical assistance, grocery stores, pharmacies, public transportation, and gas stations are operating and available to the public.

The Government of El Salvador reopened the International Airport with enhanced health protocols, which may include but not be limited to requiring the wearing of a mask at all times, maintaining social distancing, and temperature checks. The government of El Salvador is requiring all airlines to obtain from their international passengers a printed original negative Real Time-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test result issued within 72 hours of departure prior to allowing them to board. (Note: the 72 hours is counted from the date and time of the reception of the test result, NOT from the time a sample is collected) The printed lab report must state that the test is RT-PCR. However, no travelers who have visited the United Kingdom and South Africa in the last 30 days may enter, regardless of citizenship if they are not Salvadoran.

Honduras

All travelers must complete the immigration precheck form at Traveller Form. Travelers must answer all immigration, customs, and health screening questions to receive a confirmation email. Travelers must print and carry this email with them.

Non-resident Honduran citizens and tourists coming from the United Kingdom or South Africa or having visited or transited through those areas in the last 21 days are restricted from entering Honduras via any means.
Honduran citizens and foreigners resident in Honduras coming from the United Kingdom or South Africa or having visited or transited through those areas in the last two weeks, must quarantine for 14 days upon entry to Honduras.

Measurements
Due to the fact that the spread of the covid must be avoided, the use of masks, temperature measurement, distancing and the arrival of flights will be mandatory. Once the traveler arrives, they must go through the international health office, where a doctor will make a thorough evaluation to determine the patient’s symptoms through a complete interview. After that, he may be referred or sent to isolation. Inside the plane, travelers must also use bio-security equipment.

Re-bookings and Cancellations

Viaventure has suspended cancellation penalties for passengers whose trips must be rescheduled due to the outbreak. We are working closely with all service providers to allow passengers to re-book their trip for a future date without penalty or loss. In cases where suppliers are unwilling or unable to reschedule a booking, or if the booking is rescheduled at a date which may incur a price difference, a supplemental cost may be charged to the client. If a refund is required in lieu of rescheduling, we will review these requests on a case by case as we must work with all providers involved to determine fees.

We want to reassure clients that Viaventure has a strong financial position and we are not using any deposits paid to use as cash to survive. This cash will be held ready to be used once we are able to rebook clients and customers on trips into the future.

We are also collecting “Book Now, Travel Later” special offers from our suppliers and you can see these HERE.

 

Number of Cases and Deaths – Coronavirus Update for Central America

The number of cases and deaths from Coronavirus in Central America are currently low.

We are referring to Worldwide update by the BBC can be seen HERE

Belize 30,165 reported cases 570 deaths

Costa Rica 567,000 reported cases 7,287 death

El Salvador 120,000 reported cases 3,771 deaths

Guatemala 618,000 reported cases 15,928 deaths

Honduras 378,000 reported cases 10,402 deaths

Nicaragua 17,152 cases 1898 deaths

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us at any time with any questions or concerns.

We will continue to send updates as new developments occur.

 

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