Manuel Laboy, Lorenzo González

Facing the cameras, from left, Economic Development Secretary Manuel a. Laboy Rivera and Health Secretary Lorenzo González. 

Although there are no final recommendations, the government of Puerto Rico is considering a stricter lockdown to prevent a rise in COVID-19 infections. Health Secretary Lorenzo González clarified that these measures would not be as restrictive as those implemented mid-March in the first executive order signed to tackle the pandemic.

Gov. Wanda Vázquez held a meeting on Thursday, August 13, with spokespersons of the medical and financial sectors of the island. By tomorrow, they shall meet again at the Puerto Rico Department of Health's (HD) offices in San Juan.

After the meeting, González informed that the next executive order would last 21 days instead of the typical 15 days that has been implemented to date. He added that it will consider issues such as recreational activities in closed spaces. He didn't dismiss that the new restrictions would apply to businesses such as indoor shopping centers.

Regarding schools, he reiterated that the numbers as they are do not allow for in-classroom lessons by September 17, as the P.R. Department of Education originally intended.

The spokespersons from the private sector exited the meeting and many opted not to speak to members of the press.

Juan Carlos Agosto, president of the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce, acknowledged that business owners are concerned over the economic impact of even more restrictions to an already fragile economy. He said that right now the island doesn't have the federal benefits that were made available during the first months under lockdown.

"I think that, before publishing the executive order, the government wants to see the different proposals... There are concerns over more aggressive lockdowns. We decided to keep working on it," he said. "Without health, there is no economy; we are clear on that. We have a meeting tomorrow to see how we can reach an agreement to protect health and the economy," he affirmed.

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