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Puerto Rico to Tourists: Stay Home! | Frommer's Maridav / Shutterstock

Puerto Rico to Tourists: Stay Home!

Because Puerto Rico is part of the United States, flights to the island from the mainland were never completely halted this spring due to the pandemic.

But in March, Puerto Rico's government imposed a strict lockdown—involving a two-week quarantine for new arrivals, a nightly curfew for everybody, and the closure of all tourist attractions and nonessential businesses—ensuring that if you did go there, you wouldn't have many chances to breathe on anybody. 

The island had a plan to reopen tourism officially on July 15 with new requirements for incoming travelers. Passengers were to show negative Covid-19 test results no more than 3 days old, complete travel declaration forms, and wear facial coverings in public places (with fines for violators). 

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In exchange, officials decreed that beaches, bars, casinos, and other tourist-focused spots could reopen, albeit with limited capacity. 

Just days later, Puerto Rican officials have put away the welcome mat. They are delaying the implementation of eased safety measures to August 15, according to news reports

The change comes amid a surge in coronavirus cases on the island as well as widely shared TV news footage and social media posts showing American tourists not wearing masks or keeping a safe distance from one another. 

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In response, Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez has ordered bars, marinas, cinemas, and casinos to close again. Restaurants can stay open at 50% capacity, but they can't sell alcohol past 7pm. Beaches are accessible for solo exercise only. And a 10pm curfew remains in effect until July 31. 

For a full rundown of regulations, see the online travel advisory from Discover Puerto Rico, the island's official tourism office.

Flights from the U.S. mainland will continue to arrive with the same entry requirements outlined above. But island officials would prefer that you not be on those planes. 

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The tourism advisory's first line: "Puerto Rico is encouraging only essential travel at this time and has postponed its official inbound tourism reopening in order to safeguard visitors and residents."

In other words, stay out.

"Our message now is that Puerto Rico isn't prepared to receive tourists," Discover Puerto Rico spokesperson Anamarys Caratini told Telemundo in Spanish (as translated by NBC News). "It's better that they stay at home until the virus is contained." 

To keep tabs on changing travel restrictions in the Caribbean, bookmark our frequently updated island-by-island tracker.  

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Pictured at top: Carolina's Isla Verde Beach in pre-pandemic times

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