Governor Pedro Pierluisi today announced a new executive order to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Puerto Rico, which includes new restrictions on citizens and businesses.
Changes announced by the Governor today include restricted hours for a vast 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 weekday. Regarding the latter, Pierluisi added that the consumption of alcoholic beverages in public spaces is also prohibited, arguing that people “let their guard down” when drinking.
During this time, all private operations that serve the public must close from 12:00 a.m. to 5:00 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.
Also exempt are health and vaccination centers, funeral homes, ports, airports, media, transportation services and utilities. This does not apply to petrol stations, supermarkets, shops that sell essential items and restaurants – only those with delivery services -, hotel catering services and bus stops.
As noted earlier, commercial establishments must enforce vaccination mandates for their employees and customers, or require weekly testing from staff and negative test results no longer than 72 hours from their customers. Those who do not respect this decision must reduce their reception capacity by 50%.
Likewise, wearing a mask is compulsory in closed spaces and open spaces with more than 50 people.
As indicated, this decree will be in effect from September 2 to 23, which is three weeks in total.
Another of the measures imposed by the governor includes the cancellation of selective surgeries, and staff at health centers must always use N-95 or KN-95 masks.
A Monday poll of EL VOCERO, a sister publication of THE WEEKLY NEWSPAPER, indicated that 59.2% of participants would be in favor of a containment, while 40.8% oppose this measure.
COVID-19 in Puerto Rico
The August 29 update of the local health department 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 cases, the dashboard graphs show a decline since August 14.
Meanwhile, 81.4% of the eligible population (aged 12 and older) has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, available through Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson. In addition, 70.4% of the eligible population was fully vaccinated.