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Puerto Rico Continues to Loosen COVID-19 Restrictions

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Beaches across Puerto Rico are open to all leisure activities, but a curfew remains in effect until November 13.

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Beaches across Puerto Rico are open to all leisure activities, but a curfew remains in effect until November 13.

However, an island-wide 10 p.m to 5 a.m. curfew remains in effect until November 13.

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This is a developing story. For the latest information on traveling during the coronavirus outbreak, visit the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.

After rolling back its reopening after a spike in COVID-19 cases in July, Puerto Rico continues to loosen its coronavirus restrictions. As of September 12, public beaches, nature reserves, casinos, gyms, and movie theaters were allowed to reopen as long as people follow social-distancing guidelines and use masks when they are not in the water. Restrictions on alcohol sales after 7 p.m. and 24-hour lockdowns every Sunday have also been lifted. Bars and clubs remain closed and a 10 p.m to 5 a.m. curfew remains in effect until November 13.

As of October 16, there have been 56,412 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 758 resulting deaths in Puerto Rico, according to data from the New York TimesHere’s what we know so far about traveling to Puerto Rico.

Is Puerto Rico open for travel?

After Puerto Rico postponed its official inbound tourism reopening and issued a travel advisory only encouraging essential travel this summer, travelers are now permitted to enter the U.S. territory if they comply with all necessary requirements, including wearing face masks in public and following government mandated social-distancing efforts.

Technically, Puerto Rico has never closed its borders to U.S. citizens or foreign nationals who hadn’t been in China, Iran, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Ireland, or the European Shengen area in the previous 14 days. 

What kind of safety protocols are being put in place in Puerto Rico?

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In addition to completing a travel declaration form provided by the Puerto Rico Health Department, those who enter Puerto Rico will be required to supply proof of negative molecular tests (nasal or throat swabs) from 72 hours prior. The government will not accept any other type of test, including the antibody ones that require a finger stick or blood drawn. Travelers will also receive a airport exit confirmation number and QR code when uploading their molecular test results to the Puerto Rico Health Department’s online portal.

Arriving passengers who do not have test results available, refuse to submit to testing upon arrival, or test positive will be required to quarantine for 14 days and cover their own medical and extended stay expenses. Those who wish to be released from quarantine will have to undergo a molecular test and share the negative results with the government, Puerto Rico health secretary Lorenzo González told the Associated Press.

“If you don’t want to be tested, stay home. Don’t come here and complicate our situation,” he said.

Those who can produce negative test results upon arrival will be allowed into Puerto Rico, but they will need to follow locally mandated rules, including wearing face masks when in public, or be subjected to fines. Social distancing is being enforced by limiting capacity at restaurants, museums, and hotel pools.

What flights to Puerto Rico are available?

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Because Puerto Rico never closed its borders, airlines continued to fly to and from the island. However, in order to better track people arriving in Puerto Rico, flights are only allowed in and out of San Juan’s Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport. While both both Rafael Hernández Airport in Aguadilla (BQN) and the Mercedita International Airport in Ponce (PSE) were scheduled to reopen on July 6 to passenger travel, Discover Puerto Rico’s travel advisory states that all passenger flights are still being diverted to Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport.

What else is open in Puerto Rico?

An island-wide curfew will remain in place from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. through November 13, with exceptions only made for emergencies. Ferry service to the island of Culebra for tourists begins October 26, while ferry service to Vieques remains restricted to residents only.

Public beaches and natural reserves, which previously were open solely to joggers, swimmers, and surfers, are now open to everyone. Capacity at casinos, theaters, and gyms has increased to 30 percent, while bars and clubs remain closed. Retail shops and malls are open, as long as they operate at 55 percent capacity.

Capacity at restaurants in Puerto Rico is now also at 55 percent, and pools at hotels and other establishments are able to reopen at 30 percent capacity.

Which hotels are open?

Many hotels in Puerto Rico stayed open throughout the pandemic for displaced travelers and frontline workers and reopened to local leisure travelers starting in June.

The Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve Puerto Rico reopened for nonessential stays on June 2. In addition to requiring temperature checks and social-distancing measures like touchless check-in and check-out services per Hyatt’s Global Care and Cleanliness Commitment, Hyatt also installed UV light purifying air conditioners in all 579 rooms on the property.

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Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve reopened on July 1, 2020. The mostly open-air property is set right on the northern coast of Puerto Rico, a 35-minute drive from San Juan’s Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport. Many of the hotel’s 115 guest rooms come with direct beach access and private plunge pools, making it easier to social distance and limit indoor interactions with other guests. As a Marriott property, Dorado Beach is following health and safety protocols in accordance with Marriott’s Global Cleanliness Council.

How to Pretend You’re in Puerto Rico at Home

The Associated Press contributed to this article. This article originally appeared online on June 26, 2020; it was updated on October 16, 2020, to include current information. Hotels we write about are independently vetted and recommended by our editors. AFAR may earn a commission if you book through our links, which helps support our independent publication.

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