Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vazquez Garced announced Thursday night that most coronavirus restrictions will be lifted.
All businesses may now reopen, including gyms, spas, museums, daycares, and theaters, as well as beaches, parks, and houses of worship.
Sporting events, fairs, and performances will be allowed. Tourists will be welcomed back to the Island beginning on July 15th. Restaurants will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity, and businesses may open on Sundays, which they have been forbidden to do until now.
Government workers and teachers will go back to work on June 16th.
Public transportation will not resume, and a 10:00 p.m. curfew will remain in place till June 30th.
Social distancing and masks will also be required.
The governor said that she will put restrictions back in place if there is a surge in cases, hospitalizations, or deaths.
Peak is past
The Associated Press reported that Vazquez said she wants people to understand that there is still a pandemic going on. “These have been hard decisions,” she said. “Now it’s up to each one of us…to decide where to go and how to go about it.”
Puerto Rico has had 5,536 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of this writing, and 146 deaths. The Island showed their highest-ever 7-day average in the first week of June.
However, Miguel Valencia, a health department consultant, announced that Puerto Rico had already hit their peak for coronavirus cases at the end of March.
Current charts from Bing and the New York Times do not confirm that claim, but observers differ on the criteria to be used for reporting. This is true not only in Puerto Rico, but globally.
The chart below, from the European CDC, shows a running total of confirmed deaths from the virus in Puerto Rico:
The chart below, from the same source, shows daily numbers of new confirmed deaths in Puerto Rico:
Business as usual
In Puerto Rico, as in many states, the business community has been asking for the end of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Caribbean Business reports that the territory’s Restaurant Association met with the governor to ask for longer hours and greater capacity. “We are ready. The restaurant industry needs to open,” the president of the association said in a radio interview.
Puerto Rico had some of the most stringent restrictions in place, and implemented them earlier than most states. The territory’s totals continue to be lower than those of states with comparable populations.
With so many poor, elderly people living alone in Puerto Rico, how can the government justify not reopening Public Transportation access! That absurd!