Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierluisi announced today some minor changes to be included in the next executive order addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, which will be into effect from May 10 to May 23.
Executive Order 2021-032 includes minor changes based on the sustained improvement in contagion levels and hospitalizations in recent days, as reported by the local Health Department. Pierluisi reiterated that it will only be in effect for two weeks, time during which his administration will monitor the situation and contemplate potential changes if necessary.
The executive order shortens the curfew by two hours, to be enforced from 12:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. Businesses may operate until 11:00 p.m. instead of 9:00 p.m., as decreed in the current mandate.
The curfew does not apply to people taking care of emergencies or health complications, including those who administer vaccines, those who procure vaccination against COVID-19, and those who are accompanying someone who is getting vaccinated, among others.
Meanwhile, the occupancy limit inside commercial establishments, including restaurants, will remain at 30 percent. These must also enforce six-feet distances among clients.
"I want to underscore the importance that we have not yet defeated this pandemic, so we cannot lower our guard and we have to continue taking all the preventive measures required to avoid infections. In addition, vaccination is proving to be effective in reducing cases and avoiding severe disease and mortality. If we continue to comply with prevention measures and get everyone to get vaccinated, we can achieve that herd immunity as soon as the end of the summer as we all yearn for," the governor stated.
Regarding schools, the new executive order authorizes in-person classes, as long as they are following the local Health Department's guidelines.
Pierluisi explained that this is consistent with the public policy of the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden, the U.S. Secretary of Education, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as with the recommendations of the scientific community, the American Psychiatric Association, among others. The P.R. Health Department will be evaluating its protocols to bring them in line with the CDC's recommendations and the sustained trend in case reduction at this time, he added.
Moreover, the order establishes that any activity or meeting that takes place must comply with the maximum capacity established, which is 30 percent. Mass activities are still strictly prohibited, as well as crowds on beaches, rivers, spas, marinas, swimming pools and other bodies of water, among others.