Starting Friday, curfew begins at 11 pm; bars to remain closed
SAN JUAN – In a press conference Tuesday, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi announced changes to the government’s measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus in Puerto Rico
Starting Friday and to be in force for 30 days, Pierluisi’s executive order shortens the curfew by one hour, to run from 11 pm to 5 am; however, businesses must close at 10 pm
The Sunday lockdown was eliminated and beaches, swimming pools and recreational areas are reopened. People must keep a 10-foot distance among themselves and others and the consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited.
The governor may change the order at any time.
“He also ordered Puerto Rico’s Treasury Department to use federal funds and create economic incentives to help tens of thousands of small and medium businesses hard hit by strict closures that have been in place since March,” the Associated Press reported.
Some of the measures in the previous executive order, which remains in effect until Thursday will continue in force.
Iván Báez, the president of the Puerto Rico Retailers Association (ACDET by its Spanish initials) had indicated that the Sunday closure represented $ 150 million in lost wages, thus affecting the income of those workers in the middle of Christmas. I have anticipated that it could also cause business closures.
Retail sales in Puerto Rico are down 15 percent compared with last year and 15,000 jobs have been lost in this sector.
The same distancing restrictions apply and businesses may only operate at 30 percent capacity.
Nightclubs, bars and cafes must remain closed, while casinos, movie theaters and gyms may remain open at a maximum 30 percent capacity.
The announcement comes the same day the second COVID-19 vaccine dose is being distributed on the island, the AP noted, adding that some 60,000 people have been vaccinated so far and 90,000 are expected by the end of the week.
“Those scheduled to be vaccinated soon include teachers, with Pierluisi saying in-person classes could resume by March on a gradual scale,” the AP wrote, adding that Carlos Mellado, Puerto Rico’s designated health secretary, said he expects 40,000 vaccine doses to arrive on the island every week.