Puerto Rico Only Welcoming Essential Travelers Following Increase in COVID-19 cases

Travelers must bring results of a negative coronavirus test with them, or quarantine.

travelers outside Luis Munoz Marin International Airport
Travelers are seen outside the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Photo: RICARDO ARDUENGO/Getty

After an uptick in COVID-19 cases, Puerto Rico delayed its official tourism reopening.

“Puerto Rico is encouraging only essential travel at this time and has postponed its official inbound tourism reopening in order to safeguard visitors and residents,” the island's tourism site, Discover Puerto Rico announced Friday.

The island was initially planning on welcoming tourists back on July 15.

Puerto Rico has reverted back to its implemented curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Everyone is required to wear a face mask in public and may be subject to a fine if caught without one.

Travelers who are deemed essential must present documentation of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival. Those who do not take a coronavirus test ahead of departure can complete testing upon arrival at a certified testing site, but they will need to pay the testing fee and for quarantine until the results arrive. A traveler can also opt-out of the COVID-19 testing, but they will have to self-isolate at their own cost for 14 days.

Travelers must also fill out a Travel Declaration Form and present an Airport Exit Confirmation QR Code. The Travel Declaration Form includes information about the passenger’s flight, where they will be staying while in Puerto Rico, and contact information for COVID-19 tracking.

They'll also undergo a new screening process at San Juan’s Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, where all passenger flights are landing. The Puerto Rico National Guard is implementing enhanced health screenings for all arrivals.

Non-essential businesses like theaters, casinos, bars, clubs, attractions, and gyms remain closed. Restaurants and museums are operating at 50 percent capacity and must allow for social distancing between tables. The sale of alcohol is prohibited after 7 p.m.

Beaches are only open to those doing solo sports from 5 a.m. until 7 p.m. Tourists are also not allowed to travel to the nearby islands of Vieques and Culebra.

Towns across Puerto Rico are implementing their own rules to combat the spread of COVID-19. According to The Associated Press, the town of Añasco required residents to register friends and family who visit and the town of Vega Baja canceled all recreational and sporting events until the end of the year.

Puerto Rico began reopening in June but has since rolled back reopening rules after an uptick in cases over the past few weeks. Puerto Rico has 12,940 COVID-19 cases and 180 deaths, according to The New York Times.

Visitors with plans to visit should keep an eye on Puerto Rico’s latest travel advisories for the most up-to-date information.

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