Without presenting specific numbers to justify the decision, Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced anticipated on Thursday that she will sign an executive order to begin the opening of much of the economic activity stopped a month and a half ago as the main measure to avoid COVID community contagion- 19.
Although he admitted that the reopening of businesses should be conditional on meeting criteria for sustained case reduction, establishment of an effective screening and case-tracking program, Vázquez Garced did not offer details of where the country is in compliance with these parameters.
The new order that would enter into force on May 4 until May 25, will provide for the resumption of the following commercial activity:
certified public accountants
lottery sales and inspection centers
services to ports and airports,
repair and maintenance services of air conditioners.
Pharmacies and gas stations may operate regularly 7 days a week, at established hours.
Primary and specialist doctors, including mental health and optometrists, continue to offer services using telemedicine, but with the new order, in-person visits may be made in their offices, attending to their patients by appointment and with precautionary measures.
Vázquez Garced said that mortgage closings at financial institutions will be allowed by appointment, one client at a time and will be limited to requirements that could only be attended in person. Everything else must be advanced electronically.
Within the groups that are exempt for providing basic needs to vulnerable populations, animal shelters were added.
Vehicle parts and repair services businesses, as well as hardware stores, will now be able to operate Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, under the same conditions that operated until this week.
They will also be able to operate the laundries, laundry / laundromat, the Official Inspection Centers and the ornamental plants stores, from Monday to Friday, between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm
Construction & Manufacturing Industries
In the construction industry, work will be allowed to attend to critical infrastructure, including: installation, repair, maintenance and rehabilitation of energy production systems, based on renewable or alternate energy, repair and maintenance of streets, roads and highways, as well as private infrastructure, to ensure the continuity of operations and services exempt from closure. In addition, the sale, installation and maintenance of infrastructure and equipment necessary to attend the hurricane season.
Restarting manufacturing and construction will be conditional on the Department of Labor certifying that health and safety protocols are being met and employees are provided with the necessary equipment to do their jobs, such as wearing masks.
Among the excluded persons, the civil litigation attorneys summoned before the courts and notaries were added only to offer the services detailed by the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico, the DACO inspectors and the investigators of the UPR laboratories.
“Our focus has been to carry out all the necessary efforts to safeguard the health, life and safety of all the inhabitants of Puerto Rico. Taking that as a basis, we are gradually reactivating the economy and evaluating a reopening in phases and in an orderly and safe manner. We must bear in mind that the increase or decrease in the risk of contagion will depend to a great extent on the collaboration of the citizenry. ”Said the governor.
In addition, outdoor physical activities such as running, jogging, walking, cycling and walking with children will be allowed, always keeping the 6-foot distance between people, during the hours of 5:00 am to 3:00 pm
Supermarkets or grocery stores will continue to operate from 5:00 am to 8:00 pm, allowing the delivery system until 10:00 pm. The sale of prepared food will continue, exclusively using the servi-car or delivery model ( “Carry-out” or “delivery”), without allowing diners inside the establishments.
“I ask the people of Puerto Rico, once again, for patience and conscience. We are all eager to resume our routine, but understand that the measures we are taking, which I know are difficult, but are for the health of an entire people. Little by little we are going to continue evaluating the reactivation of the economic movement, with mechanisms that allow the operation of more industries and services, but the health of all the families that live in this land is the priority, without thinking twice, “assured the first executive.
If there is an increase in infections or in the number of deaths, it would return to the current state of closure and curfew. Otherwise, the third stage of business opening could take place from May 25 and will include beauty salons and barbershops, among other activities now closed.
The curfew will be maintained for the time being from 7 pm to 5 am.
All bars, beaches and parks will remain closed until further orders.