November 29, 2020

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New executive order imposes restrictions on some businesses and recreation

Governor Wanda Vázquez announced a new executive order that comes into effect tomorrow and reinstates a number of restrictions on economic and recreational activities to combat the increase in cases of COVID-19 that have been reported in recent days.

After several doctors showed a variety of graphs that all coincided in a sustained increase in infections from the end of June when they became more flexible to the restrictive measures that had been taken in March, the governor announced that it was necessary to take “more restrictive measures.”

In addition to keeping the curfew from 10:00 pm to 5:00 am,  the sale of alcoholic beverages will be prohibited from 7:00 pm in all types of establishments, including the so-called chinchorros.

The gathering of people in businesses authorized to sell food will not be allowed “at any time” and the cooperation of businesses is requested so that they do not allow customers to stay in the parking lots.

Restaurants and shops will return to maximum utilization of 50% of their useful capacity.

No waiting in lines will be allowed in businesses, and customers will have to wait in the cars to pick up the merchandise.

Individual sports training will be allowed, but no type of competitive activity will be allowed.

Beach access will be allowed only to sports activities, and it will not be allowed to go to it to sunbathe and stay for long periods. The use of coolers and chairs will not be allowed.

The use of public pools will not be allowed either.

The adventure attractions will close. Bars, casinos, cinemas, theaters, gymnasiums are also completely closed.

Visits of family members to inmates will not be allowed during the executive order.

No Party celebrations with people other than those who make up the family unit will be allowed.

In addition, the governor announced that all activities of any kind with crowds of people are unauthorized.

All marinas were ordered closed and the use of boats for recreational purposes, including watercraft, is prohibited. Local authorities, firefighters, and other agencies are authorized to intervene with any watercraft landings.

The service of the Maritime Transportation Authority will be limited to residents of the islands of Vieques and Culebra and personnel who go to work there.

In addition, the announced reopening of foreign tourism is postponed to August 15.

As for the people who arrive on the Island, they must fill out an information form to be able to track them and tourists will be required to wear masks and bring proof of having tested negative to COVID-19.

The governor indicated that as part of the efforts she sent a request to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), that all flights should arrive through the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, and not to regional airports so that the arrival of passengers can be better monitored.

The Tourism Company and the DMO (Destination Marketing Organization) were ordered to alert so that travelers only come to Puerto Rico if necessary.

The executive order will be in force until July 31.

Vázquez also announced that the government was making an additional $100 million available to combat the pandemic, and allocated an additional $150 million to private hospitals to deal with the situation. The governor made a special call to young people under 30, who are the population group that has registered the highest increase in cases, to follow the recommendations for the use of masks, social distancing, and frequent handwashing.

Before the governor made the announcement of the new executive order, several doctors and scientists spoke of the increase in contagion with descriptions such as “critical situation”, “rampant epidemic” and “epidemic out of control”, while they showed one after another graphs and indicators that revealed how the cases have shot up, to the point that the epidemic is going through its worst moment on the Island. They also showed projections that point out that the weekly cases could exceed 1,300, and the total accumulated cases would exceed 5,000.

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