Puerto Rico outlines new rules to reopen beaches and business
Puerto Rico has begun the next phase of its reopening process, with new rules in places as the territory seeks to gradually boost economic activity. Like most places around the world, the economy of Puerto Rico was sent reeling from the coronavirus pandemic that posed an alarming public health crisis and caused businesses and schools to shut down. Puerto Rico has been particularly vulnerable to the effects of the crisis, as the territory’s healthcare and electricity systems have been severely underfunded by both the territorial and federal governments for years, while natural disaster has also ripped through the area, causing massive damage to infrastructure.
Governor Wanda Vázquez (NPP, R), along with Puerto Rico’s Secretary for Economic Development and Commerce, Manuel Laboy and the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico have had an outline for a gradual reopening plan for weeks. The finance and real estate sectors were the earliest parts of the economy to open, with manufacturing and construction following after reopening in the middle of May. Now, most other parts of the economy in Puerto Rico are reopening once again. Restaurants, beaches, hair salons and barbershops, churches, and retail stores are all set to open after strict closing of these businesses and recreational areas. A curfew has also been set in place until at least June 15, which will be in effect during the hours between 7:00 pm and 5:00 am.
While most parts of the economy in Puerto Rico have reopened, bringing back some normalcy to the daily lives of many citizens and workers, the new rules and guidelines will continue to affect how individuals interact and how businesses and government operate. The curfew will reshape the typical hours of many places that may typically be open later, such as restaurants, beaches, and shops, at least until the middle of June, and possibly even longer. Restaurants will have to also reduce capacity well below the usual numbers, only serving 25% of their capacity at one time. Tourism may also be limited overall, as travel has been reduced as airlines have reduced flights amid their own financial struggles and individuals are less likely to travel with the uncertainty of getting sick or running into other issues. While more aspects of the Puerto Rican economy begin to open, many new rules remain in place as people get ready for a long-term change in daily life.