As a global pandemic continues to impact the lives and safety of millions, many nations are working to prevent the spread of the virus. However, available resources differ across countries and regions. On March 12, Puerto Rico declared a state of emergency, mandating an island curfew from 7:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. This curfew was lifted on June 11 and shifted to 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. for two additional weeks. As of June 2020, there are approximately 6,500 cases in Puerto Rico, with the number of deaths resting at 149. Besides the imposed curfew, here are six ways Puerto Rico has handled the COVID-19 pandemic.
6 Ways Puerto Rico Implemented COVID-19 Prevention Measures:
- On March 12, the Puerto Rican government banned social gatherings until further notice. Incoming travelers were immediately screened upon arrival. The first cases of COVID-19 were reported the day following the enforcement of these restrictions.
- Before social distancing guidelines were even established, Puerto Rico completely shut down everything except essential businesses. Additionally, even amid the gradual reopening strategies for businesses, the curfew remained. Travel to Puerto Rico was limited, and cruises were suspended. The territory was even granted permission to close airports and block flights.
- Through the Federal Coronavirus Relief Fund, Puerto Rico received approximately $2 billion. It was granted these payments for various anti-coronavirus purposes, including purchasing testing kits and sending stimulus checks to unemployed citizens during the lockdown.
- On April 30, a slow and gradual reopening procedure began. Face masks were required at any public location, regardless if it was outside or inside. On May 11, construction and public workers were able to return to work after being educated on safety protocols.
- On May 26, restaurants were able to open at 25% capacity. Salons and barbers were able to work by appointment only with strict safety guidelines. Retail stores were also able to open with strict guidelines such as restricting customers from trying on clothes. On June 8, malls were granted access to open at limited capacity.
- Also beginning May 26, beaches were permitted to open between 5:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. with social distancing guidelines. Shortly afterward, on June 16, movie theaters and bars could open as well. Additionally, businesses were allowed to shift to 50% capacity. On June 15, flights to Puerto Rico opened back up while screening anyone who flies in.
Puerto Rico showed its strength as a nation by locking down earlier than other countries worldwide. Puerto Rico actively took preventative measures to provide its citizens with quick and efficient procedures amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing panic. Because of state officials’ valiant efforts, the territory was able to reopen at an earlier date. The manner in which Puerto Rico handled the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic exemplifies how to implement COVID-19 prevention measures and reduce cases worldwide. With continued efforts such as these, Puerto Rico may be one of the leading nations in administrating anti-coronavirus steps.
– Kimberly Elsey