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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Lawmaker: Public needs to know scenarios for lifting of mask mandate

Rep. Eladio Cardona Quiles

By John McPhaul

District 16 Rep. Eladio “Layito” Cardona Quiles demanded Thursday that Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia and the Department of Health inform the public of the possible scenarios that would produce the elimination of the mandatory use of masks in Puerto Rico as a preventive measure against COVID-19.

The legislator said the AARP (formerly the American Association of Retired Persons) has reported that to date, 32 states in the United States have canceled general use orders on masks in public places; however, that has not been the case in Puerto Rico.

“It is important that the people know where the government is heading with the use of the mask, especially given the drop in the positivity rate that we have seen in recent days,” Cardona Quiles said. “Currently, different countries in Europe and jurisdictions in the United States have begun to relax restrictions by eliminating the use of the mask in open public spaces.”

Currently, by order of the Department of Health, the use of masks is required in closed public places on the island, regardless of vaccination status. Administrative Order No. 512, issued on July 28, 2021, requires the mandatory use of masks in outdoor spaces, even if people are partially or completely vaccinated, except when the physical space allows for six feet of distancing.

“I urge the governor and the Department of Health to continue evaluating the possible health strategies as the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic improves in Puerto Rico, more so when other countries have already decided to eliminate the use of masks in mass events, restaurants and other public places,” said the lawmaker whose district includes the municipalities of Isabela, San Sebastián and Las Marías.

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