The U.S. Census Bureau has suspended operations in Puerto Rico for the next 14 days, in response to a request from Gov. Wanda Vázquez and in compliance with her executive order instituting a general curfew.
The two main Census Bureau operations scheduled to take place in Puerto Rico are data collection for the Puerto Rico Community Survey (PRCS) and the 2020 Census Update Leave operation.
Update Leave is the operation by which Census Bureau field staff deliver a census questionnaire to all households, update the bureau’s address list and asks individuals to mail back the completed questionnaire.
The Census Bureau will tally the entire island of Puerto Rico using the Update Leave operation, the agency said.
Puerto Rico accounts for 1.7 million housing units out of 6.8 million total housing units in the Update Leave operation across the United States.
“For the health and safety of our employees and the public in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Census Bureau has put into place measures to alter its original instructions to employees performing Update Leave, to instruct them to simply leave the packet at the door and not to knock and attempt to hand it to a resident when operations resume,” the agency said.
These updated instructions remain in place for continental U.S. operations and will be followed when Update Leave restarts in Puerto Rico.
“We are able to accommodate this request as the complete and accurate count of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is deeply important to us,” the agency said in a statement.