• The Star Staff

Fewer fines issued by Health Dept. for non-compliance with EO

By John McPhaul


Jesús Hernández, director of the island Health Department’s Office of Investigations, thanked the public and the owners of establishments who are complying with and enforcing the executive order imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, noting that during the most recent intervention his office has had to issue fewer fines or closure orders for non-compliance.

“From Saturday afternoon to Sunday morning, we carried out a preventive round at various points on the island and we were very satisfied that we were able to show that the people responded to the executive order imposed and we did not have to issue fines or closure orders,” Hernández said. “The businesses were in compliance with respect to the capacity of people, as well as the prohibition order. We even visited places where we had previously had to issue fines for non-compliance and we were able to show that they were following the rules. We are very satisfied that the message of prevention is reaching the public.”

As part of the patrol, Health authorities visited areas of Old San Juan, Loíza Street in Santurce, Condado, Piñones, Loíza, Río Grande, and food kiosks in Luquillo, Toa Baja and Dorado.

During the weekend’s rounds, the operations unit visited La Perla, where they have previously intervened, and those establishments were able to show that they were complying with the executive order.

“We visited restaurants, hotels and other businesses that are enforcing the rules,” Hernández said.

The weekend was not without interventions, however. Between Friday night and early Saturday morning, KGB Kitchen Gallery Bistro in the Plaza Dorada shopping center in Dorado was penalized for operating outside the hours allowed in the executive order, as well as for selling and allowing the consumption of alcoholic beverages outside the established time.

Meanwhile, fines were also issued against Colmado San Antonio in Dorado for allowing a crowd of people in front of the establishment, and against Garden Sushi & Steak House, also in Plaza Dorada, for not requiring its employees to wear masks, allowing the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages outside the established hours and operating beyond the curfew.

“Despite these three interventions, our patrolling through different areas of Bayamón was limited to giving guidance to citizens and reinforcing the prevention message,” Hernández said. “This is why we urge merchants to continue to comply with the law, not only to avoid fines or closures, but also to stop the chain of COVID-19 infections in Puerto Rico. We cannot lower our guard.”

Health officials reminded the public that anyone who has information about the non-compliance of establishments with the measures of social distancing, capacity restrictions to avoid crowding, use of masks, handwashing facilities or any other situation that endangers the safety of employees or visitors, can send an email to investigations@salud.pr.gov. The information received will be kept confidential and handled by personnel trained to deal with such situations responsibly.

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