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Puerto Rico abandons reopening plans after coronavirus spike

Puerto Rico abandons reopening plans after coronavirus spike

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Tourists wearing a face masks walk down a street in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico on July 20, 2020. Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vazquez Garced issued a mandate to wear face masks in all public places to prevent the spread of COVID-19 amidst a spike of positive cases in the island.

Tourists wearing a face masks walk down a street in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico on July 20, 2020. Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vazquez Garced issued a mandate to wear face masks in all public places to prevent the spread of COVID-19 amidst a spike of positive cases in the island. (Ricardo Arduengo/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

Due to the rising number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Puerto Rico, the island territory has pushed back its reopening date to Aug. 15.

According to NBCNews.com, Puerto Rican Gov. Wanda Vazquez said the spike in coronavirus cases coincided with the opening of the island to tourists from the United States mainland on July 15.

As a result, Vazquez ordered bars, gyms, marinas, theaters and casinos to shut down again until at least July 31. In addition, the sale of alcohol will be prohibited after 7 p.m., restaurant capacity will be limited to 50 percent and beach access will be restricted to those exercising.

The Puerto Rican governor also extended the 10 p.m.-to-5 a.m. curfew currently in place, saying "we've reached a level where we need to take more restrictive measures."

"It's unfortunate, all the altercations that have happened between visitors and residents," Discover Puerto Rico spokesperson Anamarys Caratini said. "Our message now is that Puerto Rico isn't prepared to receive tourists. It's better that they stay at home until the virus is contained."

One of the major issues Puerto Rico has faced is the lack of respect toward the mask and social distancing mandates by tourists. While the island was applauded for how it handled the onset of the viral pandemic, it has seen a spike in cases as nonessential businesses and tourist attractions reopened.

In addition to travelers failing to comply with Vazquez's orders to wear masks and practice physical distancing, officials estimate only around 20 percent of arriving tourists presented the required negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival.

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