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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

2 new pandemic executive orders take effect Wednesday

A new executive order to take effect Wednesday increases the indoor capacity of restaurants to 75 percent, while there will no longer be capacity limitations on restaurants’ outdoor areas.

By John McPhaul

Executive Order 2022-007, which was issued by Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia last Friday and will go into effect on Wednesday and remain in force until Feb. 16, addresses some of the COVID-19 restrictions that had been previously established, such as restrictions on business hours and capacity.

The new order eliminates the dry law and the restriction of business hours to midnight.

It also increases the capacity of restaurants to 75 percent in interior spaces, while there will no longer be capacity limitations on outdoor areas of restaurants. Bars, food stands and sports bars, meanwhile will have a capacity limitation of 50 percent. The requirement to show proof of vaccination or a negative test for COVID-19 performed within the previous 48 hours remains in place.

Businesses where customers keep masks on at all times, such as supermarkets, shops and pharmacies, will no longer have capacity restrictions.

Theaters and cinemas will have a capacity limitation of 75 percent, in addition to the requirement to present proof of vaccination or a negative test for COVID-19. Regarding mass activities in coliseums, activity rooms, convention centers and amphitheaters, among others, there will be 50 percent capacity for closed places and 75 percent in open-air places. For attending mass activities, it will be required to present proof of vaccination with a booster dose or a negative test for COVID-19 within a maximum term of 48 hours before the event.

Executive Order 2022-007 was one of three executive orders signed by the governor late last week related to the COVID-19 pandemic which, among other things, extend the vaccination mandate to executive branch employees and make restrictions on groups more flexible.

Executive Order 2022-006, which took effect Friday, requires that all public employees of the central government, including public corporations and contractors who carry out work in person or frequent government offices, have the booster dose administered.

Also, the time for students from 5 to 11 years of age to present their proof of vaccination and those from 12 years of age and older their proof of booster dose has been extended until Feb. 21.

“I continue to establish measures in order to promote vaccination and booster doses,” the governor said. “I recognize that there is a delay in the vaccination of children, especially those between 5 and 11 years old, and that is why I am extending the date to give them time to complete the process and comply with their two doses of vaccine. We want our schools to be open and for students to receive the right education, and to do this we must ensure that they are safe and secure.”

The governor also signed Executive Order 2022-005, which also takes effect Wednesday and establishes that passengers over two years of age who arrive in Puerto Rico on domestic flights and have completed the vaccination cycle will have to present the Vacu-ID or inoculation certificate, but will no longer be required to take a COVID-19 test before or upon arrival on the island. People who are not vaccinated will have to arrive with a negative COVID test performed a maximum of two days before they arrive on the island. All travelers will have to continue filling out the Traveler’s Declaration upon arrival in Puerto Rico.

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