Puerto Rico Governor Issues Executive Order Relaxing COVID-19 Restrictions

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[co-author: Irene Viera]

On June 3, 2021, Puerto Rico Governor Hon. Pedro Pierluisi issued Executive Order (EO) 2021-043 to further relax COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines. The new EO will be in effect from June 7, 2021 until July 4, 2021. The Order expands the maximum capacity limits for establishments and relaxes mask requirements for fully vaccinated individuals. For purposes of this EO, individuals are considered “fully vaccinated” two or more weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series vaccine or two or more weeks after their first dose in a single-dose vaccine.

Quarantine Orders and Self-Isolation Mandates

  • Unvaccinated individuals with reasonable suspicion of being exposed to COVID-19 must quarantine for 14 days, whether or not any symptoms are present. Quarantine can be limited to 10 days without testing or seven days if the individual has tested negative for COVID-19 through a molecular test administered on or after five days following their last exposure to the virus. However, unless the Puerto Rico Department of Health states otherwise, quarantine and testing mandates will not apply to asymptomatic, fully vaccinated individuals and individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 during the previous three months after exposure and have recovered from the virus.
  • Those infected with COVID-19 must remain in self-isolation for at least 10 days after the first symptom appeared. If the person infected is either asymptomatic, or has mild or moderate symptoms, they may end isolation if: 1) at least 10 days has elapsed since the first symptom (or from the first positive test, for asymptomatic people); 2) they have not developed a fever (without the use of medication) in the last 24 hours, and 3) improvement is shown in other symptoms associated with COVID-19.

General Preventive Measures

  • Mask requirements apply to private establishments that serve the public, with the exception of beverage and food consumption.
  • Fully vaccinated individuals in closed spaces that do not serve the public are not required to use masks if all individuals inside the closed area are fully vaccinated.
  • Fully vaccinated individuals are not required to use masks when outdoors. Mask use is recommended for individuals who are not fully vaccinated, even when outdoors.
  • Six-feet social distancing from individuals outside the family unit and regular hand washing are still recommended.

Private Sector Operations

  • Private sector operations that serve the general public may be carried out from 5:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. Indoor private sector operations are allowed an occupancy limit of 75% of the maximum capacity, while outdoor establishments can operate without maximum capacity constraints. Both indoor and outdoor operations must comply with the six-feet social distancing requirement.
  • Private sector operations that do not serve the general public may operate without any time constraints but must comply with a maximum capacity limit of 75% and social distancing requirements.
  • All establishments must comply with protocols established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Puerto Rico Department of Health (DOH), the Puerto Rico Occupational Safety and Health Administration (PROSHA) and the COVID-19 guidelines.
  • Indoor theaters, bars, coliseums, and convention centers can operate at a maximum capacity of 50%. Individuals that attend should be either fully vaccinated or have negative COVID-19 test results administered at least 72 hours prior to the event, and must comply with 6-feet social distancing requirements.
  • Even though screening visitors is now recommended by the new EO, a Regulation issued by the DOH still requires it. Businesses are still required to display a poster at the entrance of the establishment indicating the number of people allowed, based on their applicable maximum capacity limits, as well as the DOH contact information to report any non-compliance. Registering with the Contact Tracing and Case Investigation Municipal System is encouraged.

Social and Recreational Activities

  • Social activities may be held from 5:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. Indoor social activities may be carried out at a maximum capacity limit of 75%, while outdoor social activities can be carried out without a maximum capacity limit. Both indoor and outdoor social activities must comply with the six-feet social distancing requirement. Participants must be either fully vaccinated or present negative COVID-19 test results administered at least 72 hours prior to the event.
  • Sports and recreational training activities are allowed as long as the general preventive measures are complied with. Beaches, pools and marinas can be used with a 10-feet social distancing requirement.

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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