UPDATED: This Map Shows Where and Who Coronavirus Has Hit the Hardest This Week in PR


Graphic via Desirée Tapia for The Americano

By Mivette Vega

August 3, 2020

Gov. Wanda Vázquez announced new measures as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to rise on the island. People gathered at malls, which remained open.

SAN JUAN — Images of gatherings at local shopping malls appeared this weekend on social media despite the new measures, to control the coronavirus spike, announced by Governor Wanda Vázquez on Friday.

People could be seen standing in line at a popular home-goods store. Some shoppers were not following basic safety measures, like wearing a mask and keeping social distance.

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Jesús Hernández, local director of the investigation division of the Health Department, confirmed on Sunday that the agency is looking into the social media reports.

“Given those images, we are in the process of investigating so we can take immediate action,” Hernández said in a statement. “Similarly, we have received complaints regarding establishments in shopping malls that allegedly do not comply with the rules of social distancing or headcount quotas. They are all under investigation.”

Vázquez made the announcement on local TV stations, flanked by doctors from the local Medical Task Force and experts of the Economic Task Force.

The new directives took effect on Saturday and will remain in place until August 15, as the island continues to face a spike of COVID-19. A 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew is still being enforced.

Dr. Segundo Rodríguez Quilichini, the spokesperson for the Medical Task Force, emphasized the need to wear masks and avoid family reunions. 

The restrictions include a prohibition of alcohol sales after 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and all day on Sundays, limiting the capacity of restaurants to 50%, and closing retail and businesses on Sundays.

All types of establishments that promote gatherings, such as gyms, bars, casinos, and theaters, must remain closed. This directive also applies to common areas, such as pools and parks, in residential complexes. 

Beaches remain closed on Sundays and are open the rest of the week only for people to exercise, allowing access to runners, surfers, and swimmers.

The governor said hardware stores are allowed to open on Sundays, in case people need to prepare for an atmospheric event during hurricane season.

Political rallies are also allowed on Sundays. 

“To guarantee the right to vote, political activities will be authorized on Sundays,” Vázquez said.

As of Monday, the local Health Department reported 7,113 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 11,678 possible cases. The death toll for the island is at 230. Of those deaths, 119 are confirmed coronavirus deaths and 111 are from symptoms similar to a COVID infection. 533 people are hospitalized.

Health Department secretary Lorenzo González said early Friday that the behavior of people between the ages of 20 and 29 required the implementation of the new safety measures. According to the official, the younger population moves more from one place to another, exposing more people to the virus in the process. 

“That younger population is becoming infected but not getting sick,” González told Primera Hora. “They are spreading the virus to older people. Those of us over 50 are the group that is dying the most in Puerto Rico.”

Mapping out the 7,113 confirmed cases as of August 3

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CATEGORIES: Coronavirus | Local | Puerto Rico


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