The governor of Puerto Rico, Pedro Pierluisi, announced this Thursday the extension of the current restrictions due to covid-19 related to alcohol consumption and the closing of businesses during the early hours, to which is added the reduction to 75% of the capacity in all indoor place that caters to the public.
Pierluisi told a press conference that the measures respond to the strong impact of the omicron variant of covid-19 on the island, where local authorities today reported 25 new deaths from the virus and 810 hospitalized.
Puerto Rico, since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, has registered 3,446 deaths from covid-19 and 227,858 cases.
“In the midst of this rebound, I can’t look the other way,” Pierluisi said to justify the announced measures.
The new executive order will mean extending until Wednesday, February 2, the current provisions of restrictions related to the dry law -prohibition of alcohol consumption- and closing of businesses from midnight to 5:00 in the morning.
50% in interior premises where it is consumed
The extension of the measures means maintaining a 50% capacity for all indoor businesses where people remove their masks to consume food and drinks, while it will be 75% for those places with occupation outside.
The new order also establishes as a measure – starting next Monday – 75% capacity in all places that serve the public indoors, such as shopping malls, supermarkets and pharmacies.
This occupancy capacity will also apply to government facilities that serve the public.
Regarding massive activities with 250 people or less, Pierluisi also indicated that only those people who present a booster dose -third dose- against covid-19 or a negative test carried out 48 hours or less before attending the event will be able to participate.
Activities with more than 250 people will have to be authorized by the Department of Health for the evaluation of its protocols.
Can’t let your guard down
“The variant -ómicron- is less severe but we cannot lower our guard,” said the governor, after indicating that older people are the most vulnerable and that their obligation is to protect this group.
The governor also reported the granting of a $600 incentive for hospital staff, as well as tracking workers from the Department of Health.
Pierluisi announced the expansion of the sectors that must comply with the vaccination mandate with a third booster dose against covid-19, this time before February 15.
The decree will now apply to students 12 years of age or older, as well as to people who work in hotels, inns, inns, theaters, cinemas, arenas, convention centers, and activity centers.
Booster dose for students
In the case of students of any public or private entity who are 12 years old or older and who have the full dose of the vaccine, they must have the booster dose -third- to take face-to-face classes.
Both students and employees of the tourism and entertainment industry who cannot receive the booster dose -either because they are not yet fit to receive them or due to any other health condition- must be inoculated within 30 days. as long as they are fit or the disease ceases.
The Secretary of Health, Carlos Mellado, indicated for his part that his agency is committed to antiviral and monoclonal treatments to mitigate the rise in hospitalizations.
“Our goal is to ensure that patients do not reach emergency rooms and much less are hospitalized. It is time to put on the reinforcement and maintain all protective measures,” he stressed.