• The San Juan Daily Star

Under stricter COVID rules, children under 12 barred from mass activities

Puerto Rico Health Secretary Carlos Mellado López

By John McPhaul


Island Health Secretary Carlos Mellado López announced Thursday that he has strengthened restrictions on activities that promote mass gatherings of people in order to safeguard the Puerto Rico population as a whole.

The administrative order will be in effect starting today, Sept. 17.

“Although we have made great strides in fighting the [coronavirus] pandemic, we cannot back down,” Mellado López said in a written statement. “We must confront the rebound in cases seen during recent weeks and mitigation measures are necessary to safeguard health. It is everyone’s responsibility to be cautious when attending a personal, business or professional activity. In the same way, even if we are vaccinated, maintain the use of the mask in these spaces. We are going to protect ourselves and not give way to the variants that have arisen.”

Administrative Order 2021-518 provides that organizers, producers, owners or administrators who carry out and organize events or public or private operations must require evidence of vaccination to have 100 percent occupancy. Meanwhile, those who choose to operate with 50 percent capacity must demand evidence of a negative virus detection test from those present within a maximum term of 72 hours before accessing the establishment.

Similarly, the order establishes that as long as there is no authorized vaccine in the population of children under 12 years of age, they will not be able to attend mass events that promote the crowding of people, even if they have a legitimate negative viral test.

The aforementioned activities include theaters, coliseums, shopping centers and other mass activities, and any other place in which events that promote the gathering of people are held, regardless of whether it is a closed or open-air establishment, must comply with the stipulations.

Under OE 2021-054, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia delegated to the secretary of health the power to establish the guidelines, guidelines, protocols, and recommendations for addressing the pandemic.