“Good morning, People of Puerto Rico.
On March 12, I decreed a State of Emergency due to the situation that Puerto Rico and the world are experiencing as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Since then, I have urged citizens to maintain social distance to avoid contagion as a result of the first cases reported as positive in Puerto Rico.
Given that the response of some citizens has not been adequate in the face of the emergency situation, our priority is health and protecting the lives of all of us who live on this Island.
I would like to announce that starting today, Sunday at 6 p.m., our government will implement stricter social control and isolation measures to prevent the spread of this virus.
An executive order has been issued for the partial closure of all businesses, with the exception of those dedicated to the sale of food and wholesale distribution, medical equipment, pharmacies, supermarkets, gas stations, banking or financial institutions, and those related to the food, medicine, medical items or fuel distribution chain.
This closing order applies to shopping malls, movie theaters, concert halls, theaters, gyms, gambling halls, casinos, establishments that sell alcoholic beverages, or any similar place that encourages the gathering of a group of citizens in the same space.
For the purposes stated, in the case of private medical offices, health professionals must ensure that they manage the preventive care of their patients.
I have also ordered the establishment of a curfew for all residents of Puerto Rico. It will begin at 9 pm until 5 am the following day, which will run until March 30.
Those authorized for work or emergency reasons will be excluded from the curfew, as provided in the executive order.
Given the possibility of transmission and spread of the virus through asymptomatic people, we have to take all precautions not to become potential carriers.
Therefore, if we as a people want to control the epidemic, we have to take forceful measures as has happened in other countries. It is enough to examine the international experience to know that if we do not act with greater determination and firmness today, the consequences tomorrow will be serious.
We are aware that the action we are taking will have collateral effects on the economy. However, we must establish a balance with the goal that our population is protected.
Protecting our population at this time of crisis will allow us to recover more tomorrow what we stop accruing today. In this sense, we appreciate the solidarity of hospital and commercial business organizations with whom we held several very productive meetings.
With them we talked about the situation we are facing and the public policy alternatives that we consider prudent to prevent the spread of this virus.
To all of you, I thank you again for your commitment for your solidarity with the Puerto Rican people. We are working together hand in hand to overcome this moment of crisis and I am sure that with the cooperation of all working together, we will overcome it.
All citizens must remain in their homes to contribute to preventing the spread of this virus.
That is everyone’s responsibility. I urge you to access social media to review the executive order.
May God bless our Puerto Rico. Thank you.”