New virus EO requires proof of vaccination at mass events
By The Star Staff
Amid an alarming rise in COVID-19 infections, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia signed Executive Order 2021-080 on Sunday, which requires proof of vaccination or a negative test result carried out 48 hours before from all individuals attending mass activities in theaters, stadiums or convention centers.
The order will go into effect Wednesday, Dec. 22.
The executive order also establishes that any mass activity that is not held in amphitheaters, stadiums, activity centers or any other open place -- and that accommodates the gathering of 500 people or more, must coordinate the protocol to be followed with the Department of Health to guarantee that the activity is safe for all those present. The protocol includes requiring the use of a face mask during the entire activity and determining whether the presence of children under five years of age is appropriate.
“As I have always said, I am extremely aware of the daily statistics related to the COVID-19 pandemic, am in constant communication with the secretary of the Department of Health, Carlos Mellado, and attentive to the recommendations of experts on this subject,” the governor said. “Puerto Rico has been a national and global example in terms of vaccination, and in complying with the measures to counteract this pandemic, and we cannot lower our guard.”
He added that with the arrival of the omicron variant and the increase in the positivity rate, there is a need for measures aimed at reducing infections.
“This is why, given the trend registered in recent days, I am signing this new executive order that will go into force on Wednesday, and I reiterate that I will continue to be vigilant and attentive to the statistics and recommendations to establish new measures, if necessary,” he said.
Pierluisi urged anyone who has not yet been vaccinated, or who has not yet gotten the booster dose against COVID-19, to do so.
“The vaccine is now available for children 5 years and older, as well as the third dose for adults,” he said. “Vaccination continues to be the solution to reduce infections, hospitalizations and prevent deaths. The effectiveness of the third dose has been demonstrated for those who have already received two doses of Pfizer and Moderna and of the booster for those who received the Janssen [Johnson & Johnson] vaccine, so I reiterate to all the importance of taking the three doses or the booster for a greater defense against COVID-19. The Department of Health will continue to carry out activities to conduct tests for the detection of the virus, as well as vaccination events.”
The news follows concerns of a hike in infections during the holidays. Puerto Rican Independence Party Assembly member Ana Arache of Vieques issued a statement raising concerns about the spread of the virus in a private New Year’s mass activity in the area known as the Rompeolas.