New Executive Order Amending Several COVID-19 Restrictions and New Travel Health Notice
By: Alicia Lamboy, Esq.
April 8, 2021
On April 8, 2021, the Hon. Pedro R. Pierluisi, Governor of Puerto Rico, issued Executive Order 2021-026 (the “Order”), aimed at managing the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the increase in COVID-19 cases, this Order reinstates certain restrictions that were previously relaxed in Executive Order 2021-019, including those concerning the operation of commercial establishments. The most significant changes for businesses include:
- Increased the curfew period from 10:00 pm to 5:00 am. The previous curfew was from 12:00 am to 5:00 am.
- Reduced the business operation hours from 5:00 am to 9:00 pm. Previous operational hours were from 5:00 am to 11:00 pm.
- Operation of all services and businesses that are not expressly prohibited remains at a maximum occupancy capacity of fifty percent (50%) if the establishment has a closed environment.
- Maintains the authorization to operate theaters, amphitheaters, and activity centers at thirty percent (30%) occupancy, but limited to the period between 5:00 am and 9:00 pm.
- Reinstalls the requirement to obtain a waiver prior to events, such as, corporate activities, pageants, and fairs.
Other provisions of Executive Order 2021-019 were adopted in this Order. These include fines for individuals and businesses that fail to comply with current mandates on COVID-19 restrictions. The new Order will be effective on April 9, 2021.
In addition, the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention of the Department of Health and Human Services (CDC) recently raised the Travel Health Notice (THN) level of Puerto Rico to Level 4 (very high level of COVID-19). Level 4 implies that travelers should avoid all travel to Puerto Rico unless necessary, in which case the CDC provides several recommendations to travelers including to be fully vaccinated before travel.