Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez confirmed she will extend Puerto Rico’s lockdown — which calls for the closure of most businesses — and will make changes to the previously established curfew in Executive Order 2020-023 to add two more hours.
The lockdown will be extended until April 12, stepping up government efforts to curb the coronavirus COVID-19 spread.
“The medical ‘task force’ made several recommendations amid this global pandemic, and I have determined to extend the quarantine so that we all remain in our homes, and avoid contagion,” she said during a news conference at La Fortaleza.
“This is a necessary measure that is being enforced in many countries across the globe because we have realized that it is the best defense we have to combat this pandemic. Social distancing is key, and it is the only antidote we have to stop the contagion curve,” she said.
In the original Executive Order passed on Mar. 15 establishing the emergency measures, the lockdown applied to most businesses while the curfew, although has been in effect 24/7, it has been enforced from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. In the revised order that will go into effect Mar. 31, the curfew begins two hours earlier, at 7 p.m. and ends at the same time as the prior order.
“We’re urging the people of Puerto Rico to remain at home,” she said, announcing the cancellation of all public and mass activities will continue, including the closure of schools, universities, shopping centers, cinemas, and gyms, among others.
Supermarkets, pharmacies, gas stations, banks, hospitals, and laboratories will continue to operate, as long as they take the essential precautionary measures, limiting the number of people who enter the establishments, she said.
Grocery stores will be closed on Sundays starting April 2020 as the extension of the lockdown comes into effect.
Saying that “many people haven’t taken the curfew seriously enough,” Vázquez said that, as of Mar, 31, drivers will have to abide by new conditions to be on the road. People will be allowed out according to the last number of their vehicle’s license plate, if the vehicle’s last number is even, citizens can go out on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
On the other hand, odd numbers may transit on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. This restriction will not apply to medical appointments, health situations or exempt employees.
“The extension of this Executive Order seeks aggressive measures with a stricter curfew. This is in response to the fact that we are facing the deadliest viral outbreak in modern times and the only way to minimize contagion is by being inside our homes,” she said.