Puerto Rico begins slow reopening as COVID cases and deaths slow
As COVID-19 cases and deaths shrink in Puerto Rico, the island plans to reopen bars and clubs, welcoming patrons to establishments operating at a 50% building capacity.
Puerto Rico’s new plans for reopening go into effect June 7, extending through July 4.
These new measures will allow bars, clubs and other establishments, such as party buses, to reopen. It will be the first time such establishments have been allowed increased patron capacity since the pandemic’s start.
These establishments will need to operate at a 50% building capacity before opening their doors to more guests: a measure put into place by Gov. Pedro Pierluisi.
“We’re getting close to normal. We can’t claim victory yet,” he was quoted as saying.
A New York Times report claims 36% of Puerto Rico’s population is fully-vaccinated against the coronavirus, with an additional 48% of residents having received a first dose. The same report claims a total of over 172,000 reported cases and over 2,500 deaths throughout the pandemic.
COVID-19 cases have been slowly decreasing in Puerto Rico. The current average for the week of June 3 is 83 new cases: a reassuring average compared to the seven-day average of 1,109 new cases during the week of April 20, 2021.
Fully-vaccinated people are no longer required to wear masks in outdoors places, such as beaches and parks, while patrons entering any kind of establishment are still required to wear a mask.
Pierluisi said hopes for herd immunity in the coming months.
These new measures mark some of the earliest reductions of health restrictions for such establishments on the island — and some of the first in over a year.
Puerto Rico has waived COVID-19 testing requirements for U.S. travellers who are fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated and international travelers must still present negative tests taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival.
Travelers who arrive on the island without a negative COVID test or vaccination are subject to a $300 fine. The Puerto Rican government is offering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to travelers arriving at the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan.
Department of Health Secretary Carlos Mellado hopes to eventually offer the option to receive your COVID-19 vaccine upon arrival at any Puerto Rico airport regardless of residential status.
Mellado said he hopes the opportunity to vaccinate will also be available for travelers arriving from the Doninican Republic via ferry services.
The island’s nightly curfew — put into effect in March 2020 — has also been lifted.