Puerto Rico Calls for Strict Curfew Despite Low Cases of Coronavirus (Video)

Emergency workers are exempt from the curfew.

While the island of Puerto Rico has managed to keep the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus to an extreme low of five, they just enlisted additional measures to keep individuals safe.

Over the weekend, Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez enacted an island-wide overnight curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. through June 15 and “enhanced health screenings” for anyone arriving at the airport, according to a memo from the island’s tourism guide sent to Travel + Leisure. Emergency workers are exempt from the curfew.

Businesses that are considered non-essential — like theaters, malls, bars, and gyms — are closed, while essential businesses like supermarkets, pharmacies, restaurants for takeout, and gas stations must close by 6 p.m., according to the tourism guide. Car services, including taxis and Ubers, can also only operate between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. except if they’re driving to and from the airports.

Those who violate the lockdown could be fined up to $5,000 or receive six months in jail, according to the paper.

They are also abiding by the CDC's guidelines to limit mass gatherings — a ruling that has canceled shows and celebrations all over the world.

"Given the Island’s resilience and experience with major disasters and expediting quick recoveries for economic turnaround, like it did from 2017’s Hurricane Maria to having a record-breaking year in tourism in 2019, Island leaders know that getting ahead and making quick impactful decisions like these are critical to pushing forward to get back on track when the crisis is behind us," the tourism board told T+L.

By enacting these extreme measures early, the hope is the island will be able to stop the spread and open back up for tourism quickly when it passes.

worker rinsing a building with a garden hose
A municipal worker rinses a building with a garden hose as part of a cleaning effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in accordance with the instruction of the Mayor in San Juan, Puerto Rico on March 15, 2020. RICARDO ARDUENGO/Getty Images

Orders to hunker down as coronavirus continues to spread throughout the country have affected travel and tourism all over the world, leaving iconic attractions empty and forcing popular locations to close their doors.

For Puerto Rico, this comes on top of several natural disasters, including a series of earthquakes earlier this year that took out power and destroyed a beloved natural rock formation, as well as the devastating Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

“Although it is too early to estimate the impact COVID-19 will have on the Island’s tourism industry, our hope is that our counterparts throughout the Atlantic and Caribbean regions, as well as our fellow U.S. citizens, are implementing similar measures in the interest of health and safety,” Brad Dean, the CEO of Discover Puerto Rico, told Travel + Leisure. “We will remain agile and responsive to bounce back quickly.”

The information in this article reflects that of the publishing time above. However, as statistics and information regarding coronavirus rapidly change, some figures may be different from when this story was originally posted. While we strive to keep our content as up to date as possible, we also recommend visiting sites like the CDC or websites of local health departments.

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