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Puerto Rico Gov. Vázquez extends curfew to May 25, allows gradual reopening of economy

Gov. Wanda Vázquez announced the extension of the islandwide curfew to May 25, while allowing a limited reopening of certain industries, businesses and services under specific conditions.

In a pre-recorded message, Vázquez said the gradual reactivation of the island’s economy — which has been under shelter-in-place and business lock-down orders since Mar. 16 to fight the spread of the COVID-19 virus — will depend on the number of new cases that may arise as a result.

While the 24/7 curfew will remain from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., the government will allow certain physical outdoor activities such as running, jogging, walking, cycling and walking with children, keeping the 6-foot distance between people, from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Pharmacies and gas stations may operate regularly seven days a week, at established hours. This will include lottery sales and vehicle inspection centers, although the moratorium on vehicle registration renewals will continue.

Primary and specialist doctors, including mental health professionals and optometrists, will continue to offer services using telemedicine, but with the new Executive Order that will go into effect, in-person visits will be allowed at their medical practices, by appointment and with the necessary precautionary measures.

Dental offices will be regulated by American Dental Association and Dental Board Guidelines and emergencies will be handled by appointment, she said.

Furthermore, she said mortgage closings will be allowed at financial institutions, also by appointment and one customer at a time.

Animal shelters have been added to the group of operations that are exempt from the Executive Order’s lock-down provisions, as well as laundry and laundromats, and businesses dedicated to ornamental agriculture.

Companies offering vehicle repair and parts services, as well as hardware stores, are authorized to operate Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., also by appointment.

Services such as inspection of elevators, moving companies, services to ports and airports, and air conditioner repair and maintenance services are also authorized under the new Executive Order that has yet to be released.

In addition, notary services will be allowed for transactions that are required in the ordinary course of business, legal services, CPA firms and other similar necessary professional services that cannot be performed remotely but are subject to the social distancing rules and by appointment.

As for critical infrastructure, the order allows the installation, repair, maintenance and rehabilitation works of energy production systems, based on renewable or alternate energy, repair and maintenance of streets, roads and highways, as well as private infrastructure. In addition, the sale, installation and maintenance of infrastructure and equipment necessary to prepare for the hurricane season are also allowed.

Grocery stores will continue to operate from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., with delivery services allowed through 10 p.m. Prepared food sales will still be permitted through pick up, carry-out or delivery service.

Author Details
Business reporter with 25 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other areas of the economy.

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