Governor of Puerto Rico Extends Curfew and Expands List of Businesses Allowed to Reopen

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As part of the ongoing plan to restart Puerto Rico’s economy, on May 21, 2020, Puerto Rico Governor Hon. Wanda Vazquez-Garced issued Executive Order 2020-041 (“EO” or the “Order”). Among other things, the Order, which takes effect on May 26, 2020, expands the list of businesses and commercial activities that were allowed to reopen pursuant to the prior Executive Order issued on May 4, 2020. EO 2020-041 also extends the lockdown and curfew measures until June 15, 2020.

The EO emphasizes that, as a precondition to start operations, all employers must have in place and submit their COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan and their self-certification to the Puerto Rico Department of Labor and Human Resources, and must have taken strict preventive measures like the mandatory use of masks or face coverings by employees, visitors or clients.  

Specifically as it relates to businesses and commercial activities, the EO authorizes the following to resume operations and receive members of the public beginning May 26, 2020, from Monday through Sunday between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., subject to certain limitations:

  1. While not exceeding 50% of the maximum capacity as defined by the Puerto Rico Construction Code of 2018:
  • Retail, including hardware stores and those dealing with the maintenance, repair, inspection and sale of car parts. Shoes and clothing stores may not allow their customers try those articles on, except for fitting purposes after the sale has been completed. All businesses shall review their return policies to facilitate compliance with this preventive measure.
  • Shopping centers in open format may open on May 26 only to receive and train their employees, and can open to the public on June 8, 2020.
  • Car dealers, by appointment only.
  • Travel agencies, by appointment only.
  • Armory shops, by appointment only. The limit of 50% of maximum capacity applies to indoor shooting ranges.
  1. While not exceeding 25% of the maximum capacity as defined by the Puerto Rico Construction Code of 2018, restaurants may receive customers by reservation only. Delivery services are extended until midnight.
  1. Others:
  • Shopping centers in closed format may open on May 26 only to receive and train their employees. They can open to the public starting June 8, 2020. Visitors will be limited to a maximum capacity rate of one person for every 100 square feet.
  • Funerary services: vigils will be permitted with a maximum capacity of 10 persons per family unit; minors age 12 or younger are not allowed.
  • Information Technology establishments, by appointment only.
  • Supermarkets may continue to operate pursuant to the May 4 Executive Order; delivery services, however, are extended until midnight.
  • Veterinary clinics, by appointment only, including grooming services.
  • Barbers and beauty salons, by appointment only.
  • Car wash establishments.
  • Pawn shops are now allowed to sell goods and/or merchandise.
  • Laundry and Laundromats may operate from Monday through Saturday; however, the Order states that they will not be allowed to receive members of the public. All services must be coordinated thorough phone or email.

Regarding in-person primary and specialized medical services, the EO adds that with regards to all elective surgeries, the Local Resumption of Elective Surgery Guidelines of April 17, 2020 of the American College of Surgeons shall be followed. The EO eliminates the express restriction of cosmetic surgeries imposed by the May 4 Executive Order. Thus, cosmetic surgeries are now permitted provided that all required security measures are taken, and that the hospital’s intensive care unit beds and ventilators do not exceed 50% of their maximum capacity.

Finally, the EO states that on May 28, 2020 and June 11, 2020, between 5:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., five employees designated by the employer will be allowed to go to the workplace to process payroll and, on May 28, 2020, employees are also allowed to go to their workplace to get any equipment or materials necessary to telework.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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