Puerto Rico Government Issues Three New Executive Orders in Relation to COVID-19

On January 28, 2022, Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi issued three additional executive orders in connection to COVID-19. These executive orders span a wide range of sectors, from travelers to private-sector employers and students. The most important aspects of each executive order (EO) are summarized below:

EO 2022-005 – Requirements for Travelers Who Come to Puerto Rico

EO 2022-005 establishes the requirements for domestic and international travelers who arrive in Puerto Rico. This EO will be effective from Wednesday, February 2, 2022, onwards. EO 2022-005 establishes that all travelers must fill out the “Travel Declaration Form, COVID-19 Alert” on or before entering Puerto Rico. With this form, the traveler must attach a copy of their vaccination card or a negative COVID-19 test result.

For domestic travelers who are age two or older, the requirement will be contingent on their vaccination status. If the traveler is vaccinated, they must have evidence of having completed the vaccination series. Unvaccinated travelers, on the other hand, must provide a negative COVID-19 test result within 48 hours prior to their arrival, or a positive result for COVID-19 from three months prior to the flight accompanied by a letter from their healthcare provider stating they have recovered from the virus.

International travelers must comply with U.S. government requirements. Accordingly, travelers ages two years or older must provide proof of being completely vaccinated and must have a negative COVID-19 test result one day before boarding the flight or a positive COVID-19 test result from the past three months.

EO 2022-006 – Expands Vaccine Booster Mandate for Public-Sector Employees and Government Contractors, Among Other Measures

EO 2022-006 expands the vaccine booster mandate to all public-sector employees. This includes Puerto Rico government employees, public corporation employees and contractors who work on-site or visit government offices. These individuals will have until February 28, 2022, to get the booster shot. Those who are not able to get the vaccine booster either for medical or other reasons, must then comply with the requirements of EO 2021-075.

Likewise, EO 2022-006 amended Section 8 of EO 2021-075 and extended the period of time for students ages 5 to 11 to meet the immunization requirement. Prior to EO 2022-006, students ages 5 to 11 had to complete their vaccination on or before January 31, 2022. However, this group of students will now have until February 21, 2022 to complete their vaccination series. Furthermore, the period of time for students ages 12 and up to get their vaccine booster has also been extended from February 15 to February 21, 2022.

EO 2022-006 is effective immediately.

EO 2022-007 – Maximum Occupancy Limits and Other COVID-19 Measures

EO 2022-007 establishes different maximum occupancy restrictions depending on the business sector. Restaurants (including fast foods, food courts, cafeterias, or any establishment whose principal function is the selling of prepared foods) that operate a closed establishment must limit their capacity to a 75% capacity limit. Theaters, cinemas and similar establishments are restricted as well to a 75% limit. Bars, “chinchorros” (food kiosks), sports bars, theaters, stadiums, coliseums, convention centers, community or activity centers, casinos and any other establishment that serves food or beverages must limit their capacity to 50%. This restriction also applies to restaurants that after a certain hour shift their principal function to selling alcoholic beverages. Establishments that serve clients in which said clients do not have to remove their masks (e.g., supermarkets, retail stores and pharmacies) do not have a capacity limit.

Furthermore, EO 2022-007 eliminates the limitation on hours of private operations that serve the public and the restriction on the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages during the hours of 12:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.

EO 2022-007, likewise, will be effective from February 2, 2022, until February 16, 2022.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.