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February 17, 2022

Booster Mandates for Puerto Rico Employees and Additional COVID-19 Measures

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Key Takeaways

  • As COVID-19 positivity rates continue to decrease, on February 13, 2022, Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi issued three news executive orders revising travelers’ declaration requirements, relaxing COVID-19 restrictions and providing for additional vaccine booster mandates for certain employees.

As COVID-19 positivity rates continue to decrease, on February 13, 2022, Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi issued three news executive orders revising travelers' declaration requirements, relaxing COVID-19 restrictions and providing for additional vaccine booster mandates for certain employees. The new executive orders are summarized as follows:  

Traveler Restrictions - EO 2022-09

Traveler Declaration Form - Any passenger over two years of age who arrives in Puerto Rico from a flight from any state or territory of the United States of America or from any international destination must complete the "Declaration of traveler, COVID-19 Alert" or the "Travel Declaration Form, COVID-19 alert" (Traveler Declarations).1 Completing the Traveler Declarations includes, among other things, attaching a copy of the "COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card," the Vacu-ID or negative COVID-19 result.2 In contrast, any passenger who has the Vacu-ID issued by the Government of Puerto Rico reflecting they were inoculated with the booster dose, will be exempt from having to complete the Traveler Declarations. Additionally, an adult with a Vacu-ID traveling with a child over two years of age must complete the Traveler Declarations for the minor.

Domestic Travelers - Any passenger over the age of two years who arrives in Puerto Rico from any state or territory of the United States of America must comply with the following: 

1) Vaccinated person: present evidence of being completely inoculated.

2) Unvaccinated person:

a.  Present a negative COVID-19 result from a qualified COVID-19 test that has been processed by a licensed healthcare professional (home tests not acceptable) and has been performed within two days prior to arrival, or

b. Present a positive COVID-19 result from the past three months together with documentation of recovery.

c. If the unvaccinated passenger does not present the result of the COVID-19 test at the time of arrival, they must undergo a qualified SARS-CoV2 viral test within 48 hours of arrival and must remain in quarantine while waiting for the result.

International Travelers - Passengers arriving from any international destination must adhere to the rules imposed by the U.S. government ("Advancing the Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic") and by CDC orders applicable to Global Travel. In addition, every passenger over two years of age, except those excepted by the CDC, must present: (a) a negative COVID-19 result approved by a relevant national authority, carried out one day before boarding the aircraft, regardless of whether or not the person is vaccinated against COVID-19, or (b) a positive result to COVID-19 from the past 90 days before the flight, along with documentation of recovery.

Exceptions - Any member of the flight crew or aviation mechanic who does not remain in Puerto Rico for a period of more than 72 hours, federal agents, state agents, officials working in the extradition process, military personnel of the United States of America and any other personnel determined by the Department of Health shall be exempt from complying with the provisions of this executive order. Likewise, people who return to Puerto Rico from a trip of less than 48 hours' duration will be exempt from complying with what is ordered here. They must present evidence of their flight departing from Puerto Rico. In all of the exceptional circumstances set forth above, the person must comply with showing either the Vacu-ID or Traveler Declaration Form.

Booster Requirements for Additional Industry Sectors - EO 2022-010

Beauty salons, barbershops, spas, gyms, childcare centers (including Head Start and Early Head Start) and casino employees who are already vaccinated against COVID-19 must receive their booster dose in order to be considered fully vaccinated. Employees will have until March 15, 2022, to comply. Non-eligible employees will have 30 days after they become eligible to receive the vaccine booster to comply with this requirement. Employees who do not comply with the booster mandate must either present a negative COVID-19 test every seven days or a positive test result from the previous three months, along with evidence of recovery and a letter from a healthcare provider certifying the individual is recovered. Employees who do not comply with any of the mentioned requirements cannot work in person and the employer may take whatever steps necessary. People who perform voluntary service in any of the mentioned places will also be considered an employee for purposes of the booster mandate.

Forum Maximum Capacity and Visitors - EO 2022-011

Restaurants, including fast foods, food courts, bars, sports bars, cinemas, theatres, coliseum, convention center, cafeterias, and any other establishment that sells food in a closed setting must limit their maximum occupancy to 75% (up from 50%). 

This EO also amends EO 2021-075, allowing mass activities so long as participants over five years of age present one of the following: (1) a negative COVID-19 test result from a maximum of two days prior to the event; (2) proof of vaccination, including a vaccine booster for eligible individuals; or (3) evidence of a positive COVID-19 result from the past three months.

Additionally, all businesses within the certain sectors (restaurants, bars, cafeterias, theaters, cinemas, sports bars and activity centers, hotels, hostels, inns, beauty salons, barbershops, spa, gyms and casinos) must ensure that all of their visitors over five years of age provide, prior to entering their premises, proof of vaccination, a negative COVID-19 test result or a positive test result from the previous three months along with evidence of recovery and a letter from a healthcare provider certifying the individual is recovered. The establishment will be responsible for requesting this information before visitors enter the establishment. In the case of food establishments, individuals who exclusively acquire food via delivery or curbside pickup are exempt. Visitors who refuse to comply with these requirements will not be able to access the premises. If the individual is a guest of a hotel or inn including short-term rentals, they may not stay until they comply. Moreover, any beauty salon, barbershop, spa or gym that does not comply with these requirements will be obliged to limit their maximum capacity to 50%.

Finally, the EO requires all covered businesses to post in visible places a notice informing individuals of the confidential telephone number for COVID-19 reports created by the Department of Health. The poster must indicate whether the location inquires about visitors' vaccination status or negative test results at its entrance.3

 

1 These can be accessed digitally prior to arrival at https://1link.travelsafe.pr.gov/.

2 Negative test results must be from a qualified SARS-CcA/2 viral test (nucleic acid amplification tests "NAAT" or antigen test). 

3 This poster or sign must contain the following contact information so that citizens can report breaches: a) Phone: (787) 522-6300, extensions 6899, 6840, 6824,6833 and 6893 b) Email: [email protected]

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