Puerto Rico small inns favor eased COVID-19 restrictions
The Puerto Rico Small Inns Association expressed its support to the government’s easing of COVID-19 preventative measures but said they will continue to apply health measures at their properties.
“We support and strive for the total opening of our economy in a controlled manner. We know that we must continue to promote vaccination, hand washing, and the use of masks and distancing in closed spaces to protect our employees,” said Xavier A Ramírez, president of the Association, and general manager of the Combate Beach Resort.
He said the drop in the positivity rate, hospitalizations, and other key pandemic indicators, in eight weeks, “confirms that most of the people of Puerto Rico are responsible and know what they must do to recover the socioeconomic normality, while the coronavirus continues to be active and present.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic is not over yet, and each organization must carefully evaluate its operation. The spring and summer high seasons are coming, and all entertainment businesses need to retain the staff we have and recruit additional, so we must be overly cautious in which preventive measures are modified, without affecting the health of our employees,” said Christian L. Rivera, vice president of the Association and general manager of Parador Guanica 1929.
The hoteliers recognized that the primary responsibility to protect themselves lies with each individual and family group.
However, the small inns, or “paradores,” are about “Puerto Rican families serving other families,” and the composition of their guests and visitors includes many children under 5 years of age, who still cannot be vaccinated, and adults over 65 with pre-existing health conditions. Both groups are considered at considerable risk, so they must maintain a safe and healthy environment for their guests, they said.
“We’re going to be very flexible in the recreational areas and outdoor activities while maintaining the best preventative practices for our employees and guests. We’ll continue with intense cleaning and sanitizing, along with the use of masks and physical distancing in closed areas. In this new stage of the pandemic, our collective priority must be focused on ensuring that we keep businesses, government, and schools fully functional,” said Ramírez.
Association members have been “meticulous in implementing operational changes with each executive order; they promote vaccination among their employees and family members and maintain the screening of their guests. As a result, very few employees have been exposed to the virus in two years,” they said.
They credited the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. and Discover Puerto Rico for doing “an excellent job in educating local and foreign tourists, and they appreciate and support the consistency of cleanliness and health protocols at the paradores.” “The year 2021 was exceptionally good for tourism on the island, and we feel optimistic about 2022. Our tourism product is very attractive and accessible for Puerto Rican and foreign families who want to enjoy the natural beauty and gastronomy of the Island. There are families who have vacationed in our paradores up to six times in the past 12 months,” Ramírez said.