Thursday, September 16, 2021

Puerto Rico orders businesses to require proof of vaccination

Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi ordered a series of businesses to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for their employees and patron amid rising cases in the U.S. territory.

Under the new order, owners, and managers must require proof of vaccination from workers at beauty salons, barber shops, nail salons, spas, gyms, day care center, supermarkets, markets, casinos, and gas station convenience stores. Beauty salons, barber shops, nail salons, spas, gyms, and casinos will also have to ask their customers for proof of vaccination or reduce their occupancy by 50%.

Pierluisi said in a statement, “Amid the significant increase in contagion, as governor I have the responsibility and the duty to continue closely monitoring daily statistics released by the Department of Health and to take the necessary means to guarantee everyone’s health. The vaccine has been tested and it works. Sadly, we are seeing that 98 percent of those hospitalized and the great majority of deaths are people who are not vaccinated. We all have the individual responsibility to protect ourselves.”

To qualify as vaccinated under the new regulations, employees must show they have received the first dose of an approved vaccine by August 30th and proof of full vaccination by October 15th. Employees with medical or religious exemptions will have to show weekly negative COVID-19 tests or a positive test, and a medical letter certifying their recovery.

Under Pierluisi’s new order, employers who fail to check their employees’ or patrons’ vaccination status could face up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. Puerto Rico’s 7-day average of COVID-19 cases has increased from 34 cases in mid-June to 866 as of this week.

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