In response to the rising wave of the Delta variant in the United States and around the world, Puerto Rico is set to establish new laws for hospitality enterprises soon.

Guests and employees of all hotels, paradores, guesthouses, and short-term rentals, including Airbnb and Vrbo rentals, will be required to produce proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of their arrival on property beginning August 16.

Those who stay longer than a week must continue to provide negative tests on a weekly basis. With very few exceptions, anyone who disobeys the new guidelines will face a $5,000 fine or six months in jail time.

Domestic tourists from the United States must upload their CDC-issued vaccination card to the island’s Travel Safe portal in order to enter Puerto Rico. Visitors who have not been vaccinated must show proof of a negative PCR or antigen test taken within 72 hours of their arrival or face a $300 fine. The penalties can be waived, though, if the traveller tests negative within 48 hours after arrival. Vaccination and testing requirements are waived for children under the age of two.

Because the Caribbean island is a US jurisdiction, passengers flying back to the mainland are not required to give a negative COVID-19 test.

The Puerto Rican government is taking this step in response to the island’s COVID-19 transmission rate of 11 percent this month, up from 1.4 percent in late June.

Puerto Rico currently has a “high” level of community transmission, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with a seven-day average positive rate falling between 10 and 14.9 percent. By comparison, much of the United States is currently in the same boat, with the Delta variant driving the majority of new cases across the board.

Governor Pedro Pierluisi announced during a press conference on August 5 that all government contractors, health facility staff, including laboratories and senior care centres, will be subject to the same testing and vaccination regulations.

“We cannot lower our guard,” Pierluisi said. “There are vaccines for everyone. Vaccinations are the solution.”

According to the Associated Press, persons who have already received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine account for 20% of current hospitalizations on the island.

All companies are open on the ground at the destination, and masks are necessary in all indoor places, regardless of vaccination status. Public health precautions spearheaded by the CDC, such as social distance and stricter sanitation protocols, are still in effect. When social separation isn’t possible, children between the ages of two and eleven must wear masks in all public places.

– India’s new age travel digital media


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