• The Star Staff

Governor issues new COVID-19-related executive order, eases some restrictions

By The Star Staff

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia at a news conference Tuesday issued a new executive order that will go into effect Friday and will ease business restrictions as the island grapples with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The executive order will be in force for 30 days, but it may be modified depending on statistics.

“I’m not going to hesitate and it will be subject to change,” Pierluisi said.

The order requires the Treasury Department to prepare, in 10 days, an economic stimulus plan for commercial entities that have had economic losses since March 15 of last year. The funds will come from $400 million available from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Economic Development and Commerce Secretary Manuel Cidre said the money will benefit small businesses that were unable to qualify for the federal stimulus, including small bars and cafeterias.

The order states the following:

* Curfew will be from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.

* All commercial establishments will close at 10 p.m.

* People may visit beaches, marinas, swimming pools, parks and recreational facilities as long as there are no crowds, groups are limited to the family unit and people maintain a physical distance of 10 feet. The consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in these areas.

* 30% capacity in establishments and condominium communal areas.

* There will be no lockdown on Sundays.

Pierluisi said all other aspects of the previous executive order will remain in force. The decree promulgated by former Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced, which remains in effect through Thursday, included the following:

* The delivery system or “delivery” will be allowed for supermarkets and restaurants from Monday to Sunday until 11 p.m.

* In the private parking lots of commercial establishments it is not allowed to serve food or

drinks that promote crowding of people.

* Churches can receive their parishioners on Sundays, under an occupancy of 30%.

* The maximum occupancy in all authorized shops and shopping centers is maintained at 30%. This number does not include the number of store employees.

* Only one person for every 75 square feet is allowed in the aisles of shopping centers.

* Stores and shops must display a poster stating how many people can be inside and in which consumers are informed of the Health Department’s confidential line for reporting breaches of the executive order.

The numbers are 787-522-6300, extensions 6899, 6840, 6824 and 6833, as well as the email investigations@salud.pr.gov.

* Gymnasiums in housing complexes may remain open, as long as there is supervising personnel.

* Hotel pools will remain open, but at 30% capacity, under the supervision of hotel staff.

* The prohibition of visits to correctional complexes is reinstated and the prohibition of visits to care centers for the elderly is maintained.

* Childcare centers may continue to operate with the same restrictions in force.

* Discotheques, concert halls, theaters, bars and “sports bars” must remain closed.

* The bars of all restaurants must remain closed. Drinks must be brought to the diners’ tables.

* Casinos, cinemas and gyms may continue to operate as at present, with a maximum capacity of 30% occupancy.

* The use of boats is prohibited. Only individual water sports such as jet skiing, paddle boarding and one-person sports may operate.

* The rental of chairs and tables is not allowed, as well as activity centers for parties or events that promote crowding.

* Party buses are prohibited from operating.

* Activities both in open and closed spaces, including parades, processions, and analogous activities that tend to involve the close gathering of people are prohibited.