If you’re looking for a break from the snow and cold much of the U.S. is now experiencing, Puerto Rico just may be the place for you. Plus, it just got considerably easier to travel there — if you’re vaccinated for COVID-19.
That’s because new entry requirements, which drop the need for vaccinated domestic travelers to be tested for COVID-19 before traveling, go into effect today, February 2. What’s more, on-island restrictions are also now being eased.
The changes were announced last week by Governor Pedro Pierluisi as a series of new executive orders.
“Hello! I share with you details of the new Executive Orders to continue fighting COVID-19,” Governor Pierluisi wrote on social media. “Let’s keep protecting ourselves, get your vaccine and your booster!”
The good news, which also served as the impetus for the executive orders, is that on January 28, when Pierluisi announced the changes, Puerto Rico reported 3,404 new COVID-19 cases, which is significantly lower than the 19,938 new cases that were reported on January 2, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Furthermore, 2,558,425 people in Puerto Rico are now fully vaccinated for COVID-19, which equates to 77.1 percent of the population.
A Significant Adjustment
The biggest change to Puerto Rico’s entry requirements is that, beginning today, February 2, domestic travelers who can present proof of COVID-19 vaccination no longer need to show proof of a negative test result.
On the other hand, if they want to avoid a mandatory quarantine, unvaccinated domestic travelers still need to provide proof of a negative antigen or PCR test performed by an authorized health provider no more than 48 hours before their departure for Puerto Rico. If they are unable to get tested before arrival, they can take a test within the first 48 hours in Puerto Rico, however, they must quarantine until they receive a negative test result.
If their post-arrival test result is positive, unvaccinated domestic travelers must quarantine for 10 days.
If an unvaccinated domestic traveler does not get tested within 48 hours of arriving in Puerto Rico, they must quarantine for 7 days. They also are subject to applicable sanctions, including fines.
Know Before You Go
If you are traveling to Puerto Rico, there’s more good news.
First, beginning today, Puerto Rico is lifting the restrictions that require businesses to close between midnight and 5 a.m. The government has lifted the prohibition on alcohol sales between midnight and 5 a.m as well.
Also beginning today, restaurants and other establishments that primarily serve food will now be able to operate at 75 percent capacity indoors, and at full capacity outdoors. Bars and other establishments which primarily serve alcohol will still need to operate at 50 percent capacity.
Keep in mind, however, that until February 16, customers visiting an establishment that serves food or drinks must still provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test performed by an authorized health provider.
Finally, as you would expect, face masks are still required indoors, regardless of vaccination status.
While you’re thinking about it, be sure to read all of our Puerto Rico coverage, including: