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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Public event producers ask governor to allow 100% capacity at shows

Public Show Producers Association President Roberto Sueiro

By John McPhaul

Public Show Producers Association (CoPEP by its Spanish acronym) President Roberto Sueiro sent a letter to Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia on Tuesday asking the governor to allow productions at 100 percent capacity.

Sueiro criticized the government’s inconsistency in granting other activities such as attendance at churches, supermarkets, shopping malls, restaurants, beaches, gyms and casinos.

“The rebound we are going through is one of many causal factors that requires immediate action from the government. However, in our opinion, the industry is being unjustifiably designated as responsible for all the ills,” Sueiro said in his letter to the governor. “Let us remember that a few months ago there were high vaccination rates and low levels of infections, hospitalizations and deaths. Citizens were falsely confident that the virus storm had passed. At that time no one suspected how contagious the omicron variant would turn out to be.”

“When comparing our positivity rate with that of North America, where mass events have not been prohibited and practically all those who attend these mass events do not wear a mask, for example: the final game of the College [Football] Championship and all the [other] American football games in different locations in the nation, we have to question whether the closure of our industry responds to empirical data,” he said in the letter.

Sueiro said that from September 2020 to November 2021, 482 events were held in Puerto Rico, with an attendance of some 700,000 people.

“Events in which cleaning procedures, hygiene and health protocols were established and followed, where the compulsory use of the mask was required and where there was always discipline and cooperation on the part of the attendees, [with them] even taking their own safety measures. None of these events resulted in a focus or outbreak of infection,” he said. “During the first 15 days of December, when cases of the omicron variant had already been identified, 12 events were held in Puerto Rico from which no information emerged on the focus or outbreak of infection.”

However, “churches, supermarkets, shopping centers, restaurants, beaches, gyms, casinos continue to be authorized for at least 50 or 75 percent [capacity],” he said. “It is totally incongruous, that mass attendance is allowed at any of the above, where there is removal of the mask, little or no supervision, or control of what is done or touched, the time of visit or activity is not controlled and there is no required proof of vaccination or negative test to enter. At events, attendees are required to provide evidence of vaccination or a negative test, they remain seated or with their attendance group and the use of the mask is required. In fact, at events where there is no contact during the main activity, the attendees themselves keep their mask on. Thus, as an industry, which is made up of over 30,000 workers, we feel discriminated against.”

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