Governor Pedro Pierluisi today announced a new executive order to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Puerto Rico, which includes new restrictions for citizens and businesses.
The changes announced today by the governor include restricted hours for a large majority of businesses, a ban on social activities in public and private places and a dry law from 12 p.m. to 5 a.m. every day of the week. Regarding the latter, Pierluisi added that the consumption of alcoholic beverages in public spaces is also prohibited, arguing that people “lower their guard” when drinking.
Meanwhile, all private operations that serve the public are to close from 12 p.m. to 5 a.m., including “commercial, professional, non-professional, consumer service, sales, entertainment and other premises.” Operations that do not serve the public, such as manufacturing, construction, trading, distribution and agricultural businesses are excluded from this new restricted hours measure.
Health and vaccination centers, funeral homes, ports, airports, media, transport and public services are also exempt. It does not apply to gas stations, supermarkets, stores that sell essentials and restaurants – but only those that have delivery services -, hotel catering services and bus stops.
As previously stated, commercial establishments should enforce vaccination mandates from their employees and customers, or require weekly testing from staff and negative test results no older than 72 hours from their customers. . Those who do not respect this rule must reduce their accommodation capacity by 50 percent.
Likewise, wearing a mask is compulsory in closed spaces and open spaces with more than 50 people.
As it has been informed, this decree will be in effect from September 2 to 23, a total of three weeks.
Another of the measures imposed by the governor includes the cancellation of selective surgeries, and health center staff must still use N-95 or KN-95 masks.
A Monday poll of EL VOCERO, a sister publication of THE WEEKLY NEWSPAPER, said 59.2% of participants would support a lockdown, while 40.8% oppose it.
COVID-19 in Puerto Rico
The August 29 update of local health service online coronavirus dashboard reported 372 confirmed cases on average out of 5,382 molecular tests performed, reflecting a positivity rate of 6.9%. Despite the government’s claim of a slight increase in the number of cases, the dashboard charts show a drop since August 14.
Meanwhile, 81.4% of the eligible population (aged 12 and over) received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, available through Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson. In addition, 70.4 percent of the eligible population has been fully immunized.