Luis Muñoz Marín Park partially reopens with COVID restrictions
Occupancy limited to 500 people and family groups up to 6
By Pedro Correa Henry
Special to The Star
In order to provide safe spaces for recreation, exercising or amusement during the coronavirus pandemic in the capital city, San Juan mayor Miguel Romero Lugo announced Sunday that Luis Muñoz Marín Park has reopened partially after being closed to the general public for about a year.
Romero said the park began its “special operations” on Saturday, and is now open from Wednesday to Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. “with strict safety and health measures to protect and promote the enjoyment of this facility in the midst of a pandemic.”
“As part of the park’s opening process, we have a quota limitation even though it is a very large facility in terms of the area it covers,” the San Juan mayor said as he established a 500-person maximum occupancy and limited groups to up to six people as recommended by the capital city’s health specialists, the island Health Department and the central government.
“For the groups that are able to visit the park, we’re inviting family groups to spend their time here, and not from larger groups,” he said. “… [A]ctivities that usually take place at gazebos that promote crowding, such as birthdays, are not being allowed for now.”
In addition, amusements such as swing sets, seesaws, slides and water springs are not permitted due to COVID-19 restrictions.
However, Romero said that as the island progresses with coronavirus vaccinations and begins to reach herd immunity, the municipal administration will ease restrictions as “the park is a property of San Juan citizens and islanders.”
As for pets, the mayor said that in the large area for pets, up to 10 dogs will be allowed; while in the small area, 4 dogs will be allowed. The maximum time of use of these areas is 30 minutes and only one adult per dog is allowed.
Meanwhile, coolers, sound amplifiers, drones, alcoholic beverages, firearms, motorized recreational equipment, furniture other than folding chairs, or recording and/or photograph sessions will not be allowed without prior authorization.
Anticipates municipal schools will reactivate in-person instruction before semester ends
When asked about any concerns regarding eight capital city schools reopening as early as March 10 for in-person classes, Romero said he is anticipating that two of the schools under San Juan’s education system will resume some form of face-to-face education before the end of the current semester, although they will not open on March 10 along with more than 100 other Department of Education campuses, nor is there a fixed date at this time.
Romero said his administration has identified municipal school personnel who interact with 65-year-old citizens in order to get them vaccinated against the coronavirus.
He said that in the meantime he visited the Sports, English, and Science and Technology schools on Saturday to talk with their principals about continued reopening preparations.
“As far as the teaching system, we have been remote, but because it is a smaller system, which we can control better, we have had the opportunity to check with the parents on how satisfied they are with the alternative teaching system, and the acceptance has been a fairly wide one,” Romero said.
“Like the vast majority of families, we want to begin in-person instruction, reducing the space in the classrooms,” the mayor added. “It does not depend only on the municipality of San Juan, it depends on the guidelines that the central government provides because executive orders apply not only to municipal schools and educational systems, but also to private schools.”
Romero added that he remains in conversations with municipal health director Luis Clas and Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia about moving forward with efforts to reopen schools safely amid the coronavirus pandemic.