All over the world, government officials have put in place curfews or “shelter in place” orders to combat the spread of the coronavirus. While the United States has yet to announce nationwide curfew restrictions, local and state officials have put in place their own precautions. In the Bay Area, residents of six counties are under a “shelter in place” mandate, which means people must stay indoors and not interact with others for at least the next three weeks. In Puerto Rico, officials there have announced similar tactics.
In the U.S., as of today, more than 6,000 people have been diagnosed with the coronavirus. In Puerto Rico, thankfully the island has not been engulfed with cases with a reported five diagnosed positive with the coronavirus, which is very good considering how much the people have endured in the past three years. But officials there are not taking this for granted. Gov. Wanda Vázquez announced that the island will have a strict curfew in place, and any violators could face up to a $5,000 fine and jail time.
Puerto Rico on Sunday imposed a 9 p.m. overnight curfew and ordered most businesses shut down through March 30, one of the most widespread restrictions yet seen in the U.S. in response to the coronavirus https://t.co/UHmMlAVcIL
— The New York Times (@nytimes) March 15, 2020
“Amid the possibility of the virus’ transmission and propagation even among people who present no symptoms, we have to take all the precautions so we don’t become potential transmitters of the disease,” Gov. Vázquez said on Sunday, according to NBC News.
As we noted, only five people have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, and three of those were tourists from Italy and California. The other two are local residents and include two elderly people with underlying health conditions.
Gov. Vázquez is taking all of this into consideration, which is why she’s taking a harder stance, including imposing a high fine and jail time to people who choose not to follow the new rules.
Puerto Ricans are allowed to be out between 5 a.m. to 9 p.m only “to buy essential items or to go to medical appointments, work or to assist children or the elderly.” But for the most part, Gov. Vázquez wants everyone indoors. The only businesses that are allowed to remain open include “supermarkets, drugstores, banking centers and gas stations.” All other businesses are ordered to stay closed until March 30.
Governor of Puerto Rico orders islandwide curfew to curb virus spread https://t.co/X1860DaMLq
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) March 15, 2020
Despite the new mandates, at least one local resident told the New York Times that things in Puerto Rico are still very much in chaos. She said, much like the U.S., she cannot find essential items like rubbing alcohol.
“They’ve been really disorganized,” Xiomara Liz Cortés Fuentes told the Times. “What most worries me, what I always think about, are older people. Puerto Rico’s health system is already collapsed, so it will only collapse faster with the number of people who will need care because the government measures have come too late.”