The closure of nightlife and the dry law come into force in Puerto Rico

The explosion of covid-19 cases in Puerto Rico led the Government to impose from this Tuesday until January 18 the dry law and the closure of night shops, among other restrictions that come into force to the dismay of businessmen.

The measure prohibits the sale of alcohol and the opening of businesses that serve the public from 12 midnight to 5:00 a.m. (local time), and is part of the new Executive Order 2021-086, signed by Governor Pedro Pierluisi.

These bans, which try to contain the record numbers of infections on the island due to the omicron variant, have angered administrators of small establishments dedicated to the sale of food and / or drinks, whose hours extend after midnight.

"Guilty" night business

One of these businessmen is Iván Villahermosa, administrator of the Casa Cataño and AquiCBB businesses, who in an interview with Efe criticized the new executive order for pointing to restaurants and bars as the alleged places where people are most infected.

"Everything that is for the good of the people, I agree. What happens is that we are always dividing and penalizing restaurants or bars"Villahermosa said in an interview with Efe on the promenade of Cataño, a municipality near San Juan.

Villahermosa explained that Casa Cataño will not be affected by the new executive order, but AquiCBB will, where the closing time is at 2 in the morning.

Therefore, you will have to reduce your operations by two hours, causing thousands of dollars in losses.

The new executive order also prohibits any mass activity of more than 250 people, either inside or outside any facility, but does not mention shopping centers or large stores, where up to thousands of buyers gather at the same time every day.

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Discrimination between premises

"So, there it doesn’t stick and here it does? This is why many of us get upset. We have to be fair to each other"Villahermosa denounced.

Given the whole situation, the businessman proposed that each mayor of the 78 municipalities of Puerto Rico have their own ordinances and restrictions to alleviate the contagion of covid-19 on the island, where this Tuesday the positivity rate reached 33.18% .

According to data from the Health Department, in the last 24 hours more than 8,700 infections have been recorded, between cases confirmed with molecular testing and probable with antigens, and four deaths.

For his part, José Lomba, one of the three owners of the Pinchoneo business in Guaynabo, another municipality near San Juan, assured Efe that "the Government always does things to affect small businesses and leaves large businesses free".

Lomba explained that Pinchoneo does not have a closing schedule, so it sometimes continues to operate until 4 in the morning, but that now with the new executive order it will be forced to close and inform its guests that they have to leave.

This ordinance is not the only one that has come into force in the last week, when capacity restrictions have been imposed in the premises and negative proof of covid-19 has been required for events, in addition to evidence of vaccination.

The governor has been approving a series of measures, among which the obligatory nature of the booster dose of the vaccine against covid-19 for all health personnel, teachers, police officers and workers in restaurants and supermarkets, among others, stands out.

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