Trapped in Paradise- Quarantine Chronicles from Placencia

Trapped in paradise; it sounds like the title of a cheap romance novel but the reality is a lot less torrid-love-affair and lot more tantrums-and-boredom.  Belize was well behind the rest of the world on the Covid 19 curve and it nearly seemed as though it might peter out before this little jewel was directly impacted.  But alas, as the ball really got rolling with our North American neighbors, Belize started taking tentative steps towards self-preservation.

By early March tourism was in steep decline- on a roller coaster descent in what is typically our high season we were rapidly sliding in to a very early slow season.  Mid-March brought a profusion of travel restrictions and subsequently a torrent of vacation cancellations.  Local schools shut down 2 weeks ahead of their already scheduled 3 week Easter holiday break so this parent was unhappily staring down the barrel of 5 weeks without structured childcare ::send help:: 

At this point the media was whipping everyone in to a nice frenzy and it was announced that Belize would be closing its borders.  Vacationers that hadn’t cancelled had to cut their trips short, snowbirds went back north earlier than they typically would have, hotels and businesses began to shutter until the crisis resolved.  It should be noted that all this happened before we even had a single confirmed case- sheesh!  The first confirmed case was discovered on March 23rd and it was a Belizean-American that had returned to Belize JUST before the airport closure and she was already symptomatic when she arrived.  She infected only one other person (her mother) but this resulted in a total lockdown of Ambergris Caye, Belize’s number one tourism destination.

The rest of the country was quick to follow suit.  Bars and restaurants were already closed except for take-out and limitations were in place for gatherings (the # of people allowed kept dropping: from less than 100, to 25, to 10).  On March 27th Belize confirmed its third case- another imported case from the US- it was a man who’d traveled from New York to Belize City a week previously and had self-isolated.  Several tests were performed but it isn’t suspected that he infected anyone else.  April 1st brought us a country wide State of Emergency.  We’re all supposed to be on house arrest for 30 days- no playdates, no non-essential business, strict curfew 8pm-5am.

I could bemoan the fact that we’re stuck here with no work, no school, no camp, no beach parties, no bars, no gym, no friendly gatherings, and so on. (and as my husband can attest to- I HAVE complained… A LOT)  BUT most of the world is in the same ship and truthfully this is the place to be.  (remember I said Belize is a great place to be during the Apocalypse)

So, here’s how our lockdown is going: we started a renovation project on one of the downstairs apartments since the house is otherwise unoccupied.  We’re turning this unit in to a 1-bedroom apartment and we screened in their veranda space.  We’re waiting on new doors and windows and I can’t wait to show you the final product!

We’ve re-committed ourselves to at-home workouts as there is some confusion as to whether or not we’ll be permitted to run on the road as we typically do.

I pretty much threw in the towel on homeschooling; it was simply too frustrating!  We got through maybe three pages of his workbook over several days of trying.  So Mitch might have to repeat preschool next year- worst things could happen!

How is your social distancing going?

About the author

Phil Nagengast

would rather be outside soaking up the sun or in a gym working out. Phil also makes an occasional effort to keep Megan in line.

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© 2014 Megan Rodden and Phil Nagengast.