• The San Juan Daily Star

New EO will require vaccination or negative test to enter eating & drinking establishments

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi

By The Star Staff

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia announced on Monday the signing of the new Executive Order 2021-081 against COVID-19, which establishes that all restaurants, bars, and less formal eating and drinking cafes known as “chinchorros,” as well as other establishments that consume food and drink, must require proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative test performed within 48 hours before entering the establishment.

“The pandemic has shown us that we must not lower our guard and that we must always remain attentive to the changes that arise with the variants,” the governor said. “My call remains the same: Anyone who has not yet completed their vaccine dose and booster, now is the time to do so. Stopping the spread of COVID-19 is everyone’s job. As I have indicated, I will continue to be vigilant and establish any measure that I deem necessary.

The new order will go into force next Monday, Dec. 27. As a result, the 50 percent capacity alternative was eliminated for establishments that did not require evidence of vaccination or a negative test.

Meanwhile, Monday’s executive order decreed that all passengers -- vaccinated or not vaccinated -- who travel to Puerto Rico by domestic flight must present a negative COVID-19 test carried out 48 hours or less before arriving on the island. People who do not arrive with a negative test will have 48 hours to do it in Puerto Rico or they will be fined.

Likewise, unvaccinated people who travel to Puerto Rico on domestic flights must also quarantine for seven days, regardless of whether they arrive with or without a negative test.

In the case of international flights, the federally mandated provision remains in place that all travelers have a negative COVID-19 test performed at least 24 hours before the flight.

On Sunday, the governor signed an executive order requiring proof of vaccination or negative test results, as well as masks, on the part of individuals attending congregate activities.

“There are other measures that we can take and we are considering them,” Pierluisi told reporters earlier on Monday at the end of a graduation ceremony for 140 new firefighters at Rubén Rodríguez Coliseum in Bayamón.

“I am very aware of the airport and I am also very aware of the establishments where drinks or food are consumed,” he said. “With that they are already ahead.”

The governor said some of the measures that the state of Hawaii has imposed on travelers could be emulated.

Regarding the availability of COVID-19 tests, Pierluisi insisted that the Department of Health has sufficient quantities to comply with the requirements of the executive order. However, he promised to review whether it is necessary to request additional supplies in light of press reports indicating a shortage of molecular tests in laboratories and pharmacies.

The governor insisted that he takes into account the number of hospitalizations to determine whether or not to impose new restrictions.

“If that changes, I will reconsider the current rule of law,” he noted.

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