Puerto Rico has had among the toughest regulations during the pandemic within the US, and additional restrictions specifically for businesses released by the Department of Health Regulation No. 9210 went into effect on August 21.
Everyone entering a business must take four basic precautions:
- Their temperatures must be checked.
- They must clean their hands.
- They must wear masks.
- They must maintain social distancing, keeping 6 feet between themselves and other people.
These requirements are not new, but businesses are now responsible for them, regardless of any other factors.
Individuals face requirements as well. Everyone must wear a mask if they are not in their homes or cars. They must follow social distancing guidelines and they cannot gather in large groups. People who have been exposed to the virus must self-isolate.
Quarantine requirements are continuing.
Individuals who do not honor the regulation may receive a $100 fine. Businesses may be fined $500. Any fine not paid within three days will be doubled, and there will be a 30 day period to appeal the ruling.
Earlier regulations, including the Governor’s Executive Orders, have allowed fines up to $5,000, imprisonment for up to six months, or both, and these regulations are still in force.
These penalties apply to tourists and other travelers as well as to regular residents of the Island.
At this writing, Puerto Rico has 31,988 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 424 deaths. (Data from Worldometer.)
These numbers are lower than those of U.S. States with similar populations. However, Puerto Rico’s health care system is less robust than those found in the States; prevention is the Island’s best option.
I like the rules that are in place. I think the Governor and her staff have done a really good with the rules. My only suggestion would be to shut down the island on Sundays except for essential services (law enforcement, medical, gas). This would include all grocery stores. There are six days in the week to get what is needed without the stores being open on Sunday. I wish the people of P.R. had given the Governor a chance to improve the conditions on the island with regard to unemployment and obtaining new industries for the island.