Puerto Rico Will Reopen Its Beaches and Ease COVID-19 Lockdown Restrictions
The new protocol will begin on Jan. 8.
Puerto Rico's beaches, marinas and pools will reopen this week after a lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19.
On Tuesday, Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierluisi announced an easing of restrictions that, along with reopening beaches, will eliminate a weekly Sunday lockdown and a shortened curfew which has been in place since the beginning of the pandemic, The Associated Press reported.
The nightly curfew will now be starting at 11 p.m. instead of 9 p.m. and will lift at 5 a.m. each morning.
The eased restrictions will begin on Jan. 8.
Other restrictions, like limited capacity at restaurants, museums and casinos and a closure of bars, will remain in effect. Guidelines like social distancing and wearing face masks when in public also remain in place.
Previously, the beaches had only been open at select hours during the day for those practicing "individual sports." When the beaches reopen, visitors will be required to abide by social distancing guidelines and consumption of alcohol will be prohibited.
The new rules will remain in effect for 30 days but can be changed at any time, should the island experience another spike in COVID-19 cases.
"Our goal has to be to be able to return to a new normal," Pierluisi said, according to The AP. "We have to keep taking preventive measures in the meantime."
Although the island is returning to normal, tourism company Discover Puerto Rico said it is "encouraging only essential travel at this time," according to their website.
Travelers with essential trips are required to fill out an online Travel Declaration Form through the Puerto Rico Health Department and produce the results of a negative COVID-19 test, taken no more than 72 hours before their arrival on the island. Those without test results must quarantine upon arrival.
Puerto Rico has reported more than 127,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 1,200 deaths related to the virus.