NEAB opposes vaccine mandate for Churches

The National Evangelical Association of Belize (NEAB) has penned a letter to Prime Minister John Briceño expressing their discontent with the recent announcement via S.I No.119 which stipulates that only vaccinated persons will be allowed in churches.

On Wednesday, October 6th, Briceño met with NEAB, and the Belize Association of Evangelical Churches to discuss areas of interest and collaboration between the various entities. While NEAB said that they were grateful for the meeting, they stressed that the matter of a “vaccinated only” requirement for congregants was never discussed..

NEAB in their letter told the PM that they were “quite surprised” at the PM’s announcement via a public interview that only vaccinated persons would be allowed in churches. “Had that important discussion come up we would not have supported that move,” NEAB wrote. “We discussed with you about churches at 50% capacity, mask-wearing, and social distancing and that Pastors would be responsible for applying “Covid protocols. … There was nothing about ‘vaccinated only’ for churches.”

The letter then went on to tell the prime minister that the new regulations goes directly against the very core calling of the church since the church must be opened to all those who wish to seek God and are willing to abide by basic protocols.

While the new regulation has already come into effect since October 14th, the churches requested a follow-up meeting with Briceño to discuss the matter before “it goes into effect.”

In a recent interview with The Reporter, health officials have confirmed that churches have been considered as the main hotspot for COVID-19 infections.

“Definitely, we know that, in Orange Walk, when we had the beginning of this third surge, churches were involved … and not only there, even in the Belize District we saw it happening,” Dr. Melissa Diaz Musa, the director of the Central Health Region, said to The Reporter this week when asked about the role of the churches as pertains to the spread of COVID-19.

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