Latinos following the rules for coronavirus quarantine Is it a cultural thing that Latinos have a harder time to follow the rules?
Image via Desirée Tapia for The Americano

COVID-19 has imposed so many new rules and decrees on all of us. But what happens with those who find it harder to follow instructions?

Staying home can be the worst punishment for some. And now that a big portion of the world faces social distancing and isolation due to the coronavirus, millions have been unable to escape this new reality. But some may have found a way out.

In Puerto Rico, for instance, just hours after Governor Wanda Vázquez issued a strict curfew in order of preventing the spread of the highly contagious disease, people went to the beach, to public spaces, some went ahead with their camping trips. A guy even went outside at night to play the violin for his neighbors in Old San Juan. As sweet as this may sound, he was doing something technically illegal.

As of today, at least 70 people had been arrested on the island for violating the curfew.

ViejoSanJuan

En mi viejo San Juan 😍🇵🇷Una hermosa melodia en la segunda noche del toque de queda en #PuertoRicoVideo: @angel_s.saiyan.#puertoricogram #prgvsj

Posted by Puertoricogram on Monday, March 16, 2020
Boricua playing the violin for his neighbors in Old San Juan the first night the curfew was imposed.

For some people following the rules is very difficult, but during this pandemic, it can be a matter of life or death. “There’s always polarities because there are those who demand greater rigidity from the government, and then there are the ones who later criticize it because they do not want their mobility to be limited and their daily lives affected,” said Andrés Claudio, general manager of Hearts & Science, an expert in human interaction, social research, and digital marketing.

Are Latinos More Prone To Breaking The Rules Then?

An attitude of defiance can be an issue with Latinos in general, not just Puerto Ricans, explained Claudio.

“There is a theory called the Polychronic Theory that says that Latin culture tends to manifest itself in different ways,” added Claudio. “Their communication is complex because it is demonstrated verbally and affectionately. This is not seen in colder weather cultures like the Anglo-Saxon or the Nordic, which are monochronic. Those are much more rigid cultures when it comes to discipline, so they accept with greater rigidity the decrees and ordinances, because this has been part of their formation. But the Latino culture tends to be much more expressive, opinionated and therefore more rebellious in how the law affects them.”

The cultural aspect of affection has been one of the main challenges in the daily life of Puerto Ricans, a community that usually greets others with kisses, hugs, and endless handshakes. 

And then there are those who shame the ones following the rules

But epidemiologist David Capó recently raised a red flag on a local TV show, Jugando Pelota Dura, about the similarities that Italians and Puerto Ricans have, in order to learn from their mistakes with COVID-19. 

In Italy, coronavirus arrived on February 15, and there are more than 35,000 cases and 2,978 deaths now. “There are two main similarities: in Italy, to protect the economy, they didn’t want to start counting the cases. It took them a long time to start calculating how many there were,” said the doctor. “Culturally, there was also strong resistance from the people. They just have to hug each other, they have to kiss each other and they have to have coffee together. When they began counting, they started with 200 cases just in that first week. Puerto Rico and the United States are reacting late like Italy.”

In fact, yesterday Italy reached the worst record since this crisis began, with 475 deaths in 24 hours. And today, it had officially surpassed the number of deaths in China.

Meanwhile, in touristy places like San Juan, some blame the tourists that are defying the orders by going to the beach, going out and even throwing parties. Yesterday Puerto Rican authorities confirmed the sixth case and 21 suspicious new cases. Still, the protocols aren’t clear and there’s a lot of confusion on how and who is being tested. 

You can read more about ways to stay safe and keep your kids safe and entertained here.