Puerto Rico Reopens for Tourism, Then Begins Rollback

puerto rico tourism openThe historic Caribe Hilton in San Juan.
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Puerto Rico officially reopened for tourism on Wednesday, with a host of health and safety protocols for incoming travelers, and on Thursday promptly began a rollback of much of its service industry.

On Thursday, Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced announced that the island’s bars, casinos and theaters would be closed, reduced restaurant capacity to a max of 50 percent and announced that sunbathing on beaches would be banned, too.

The move came just a day after the island had officially reopened its tourism sector.

Still planning a trip? Here’s how to do it.

Travelers to Puerto Rico must complete an online travel declaration form (you can find it here); the forms can also be done upon arrival, as it is a requirement to exit the airport. 

Most importantly, travelers must show proof of a negative “molecular COVID-19 test result,” meaning a nasal or throat swab test, taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival. (Here’s a resource for places where you can get tested in the U.S.)

Travelers will receive an “Airport Exit Confirmation Code” when they upload their test results to the Puerto Rico Health Department’s online portal. 

All arriving travelers will be screened by thermographic cameras to monitor temperatures, while the airport has implemented “enhanced protocols” at baggage claim before exiting the airport. (For more information on the protocols, visit Discover Puerto Rico’s Travel Advisory here). 

Travelers with symptoms of COVID-19 will have to undergo rapid COVID-19 tests at the airport (a finger-prick blood test); even those who test negative will have to quarantine until the traveler can prove a negative test taken on the island. 

It’s a complicated way of saying don’t travel to Puerto Rico unless you have already received your negative test result within 72 hours of arrival and can upload it before you get on the plane.

“Puerto Rico has exercised an abundance of caution since the onset of COVID-19, and strict locally mandated regulations are being enforced such as social distancing, face covering requirements in public places and a variety of measures for businesses – including reduced capacities,” said Brad Dean, CEO of Discover Puerto Rico. “The tourism sector is vital to the Island’s economy as it employs an estimated 80,000 Island residents.”

So what’s open in Puerto Rico right now?

The island’s famous El Yunque rainforest is partially open, with social distancing enforced. 

Restaurants have reopened at 50 percent capacity, with temperature checks for all guests; and supermarkets, gas stations and the like are open (supermarket delivery services are available through midnight). 

On the hotel front, Marriott has reopened five of its Puerto Rico hotels and resorts: Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve; the San Juan Marriott; the Aloft San Juan, the AC Hotel San Juan Condado and the Sheraton Puerto Rico. 

Other options include the O:live Boutique Hotel, the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar resort; the Condado Vanderbilt, La Concha Renaissance Resort; the InterContinental San Juan, the CasaBlanca boutique hotel, among others. 

For more, visit Discover Puerto Rico