Puerto Rico will maintain its curfews, among the strictest in the United States, until May 25. However, Governor Wanda Vazquez Garced has announced that businesses may open before this date.
May 4 openings
The first group of businesses that will reopen will be financial, mortgage, insurance, real estate, notary, professional services, engineering and accounting industries. These services may reopen on May 4. Clients must be served one at a time, and social distancing must be observed.
Hardware stores and auto repair and parts facilities may extend their hours from the current two days per week to five days per week. 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. will be the hours allowed, Monday through Friday.
A number of other services, from elevator inspections to laundry and university research to non-emergency medical services, will also be allowed beginning May 4th. Social distancing rules and other protective measures must still be taken.
May 11 openings
The governor made it clear that the number of infections will be monitored and plans will change if necessary. However, it is expected that construction and manufacturing will reopen on May 11. A protocol has already been provided by the Builders Association for the employers in construction. Manufacturing will require physical distancing, increased hygiene measures, and temperature checks before workers begin their shifts, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Employers will be expected to send compliance “self-certifications” to the Department of Labor and Human Resources. No businesses in these categories will be allowed to reopen if they are not able to keep workers safe.
May 18 – May 25
The remaining businesses, including retail, barber shops, beauty salons, car dealers, and restaurants, will be gradually allowed to reopen beginning May 18th. During this time, religious services and wakes will also be allowed.
Face masks will continue to be required for everyone entering a business.
People will be allowed to leaver their homes to run, walk, or ride bikes between 5:00 a.m.and 3:00 p.m., but public parks and beaches as well as gyms and spas will remain closed.
“We cannot forget that we’re facing a real emergency,” Vázquez said. “If there’s no need to leave your house, don’t.” She also emphasized that there could be further changes in these plans. “We will not risk everything we’ve gained over these weeks.”