• The San Juan Daily Star

Governor sets tighter restrictions on restaurants & bars

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi

By The Star Staff

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia signed Executive Order 2021-085 on Monday, which establishes that as of Thursday, Dec. 30, the places where people remove their masks to consume food and beverages will reduce their capacity to 50 percent if it is indoors, and 75 percent if it is outdoors.

“The measures carried out in this Executive Order are consistent with those taken since the beginning of this year. In all of them, a fair balance was made between the health and safety of the entire population and the adverse effects on the economy,” the governor said in a written statement. “Likewise, the measures taken in this Executive Order are similar to those implemented during the different seasons in which there was an increase in infections, which were certainly effective. This government has the responsibility to continue with the necessary efforts to prevent and stop the spread of COVID-19 and to safeguard the health, life, and safety of all residents of Puerto Rico.”

The order includes restaurants, food courts, cafeterias, bars, cafeterias, “chinchorros,” sports bars, cinemas, community or activity centers, coliseums, theaters and any other place that serves drinks or prepared meals. In the case of those that operate indoors, they are obliged to limit the capacity to 50 percent of the capacity of the establishment. Around those that operate outdoors, 75 percent will apply. With regard to mass activities of closed modality in theaters, amphitheaters, stadiums, coliseums and convention centers, they may be carried out by reducing the capacity to 50 percent of the capacity of the venue. Meanwhile, the activities that take place in the same places that operate outdoors can be carried out after reducing the capacity to 75 percent.

In the new Executive Order, which will be in force until Jan. 16, it is reiterated that the citizen has the individual responsibility to be judicious and critical of any personal, commercial or professional activity that he or she attends or is involved in.

“If each Puerto Rican follows to the letter all the precautionary measures ordered by the CDC, by the Department of Health, by the other components of the Government of Puerto Rico and by this Executive Order, it is without a doubt that we will all protect ourselves,” the governor said in the executive mandate. “Each of the citizens has the responsibility to continue taking the precautionary measures imposed, avoid the crowding of people and, in addition, be judicious and determine not to participate in any activity that they believe could put their health or that of others at risk.”

Last week, the governor signed OE 2021-080, which requires full vaccination against COVID-19 to attend mass events, as well as a negative test performed 48 hours or less before attending the event.

That mandate includes all closed or open establishments that carry out mass activities -- understood to be theaters, amphitheaters, stadiums, coliseums, convention and activity centers -- and any other place in which activities that promote the crowding of people are held.

Meanwhile, OE 2021-081, effective as of Monday, established the requirement of a full dose of vaccine against COVID-19 or a negative test of 48 hours or less for food and beverage establishments.

Regarding the requirement of vaccination in food and drink establishments, Pierluisi stressed that, in the case of the terraces of food restaurants known as food courts, the administrators of the areas should limit the area so that evidence of vaccination or a negative test result may be required for those who will eat at the tables.

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