Is Covid back (see The Lost & Found Year(s): COVID Trip)? Based on another stupid regulation in Puerto Rico, you would think that it was. Before I tell you about that, how about some posts of irrational rules implemented by the government to ‘protect’ the local people during the pandemic:
On Monday, Gov. Wanda Vázquez assumed even more sweeping powers, signing an amendment to the Public Security law that makes breaking the curfew — or future curfews — punishable with six months in jail and/or a $5,000 fine. In addition, it makes it illegal for media outlets or social media accounts “to transmit or allow the transmission” of “false information with the intention of creating confusion, panic, or public hysteria, with regards to any proclamation or executive order declaring an emergency, disaster or curfew.” If the false information causes more than $10,000 in damage to public-sector finances or leads to injury or damage of physical property, it will be considered a fourth-degree criminal offense, the governor’s office said.
Luís Davila-Colón, a prominent radio host and author, accused the governor of drifting into authoritarianism. He said, “You cannot govern through dictatorial decrees, scolding, secrets, muzzling, blockades or threatening to imprison your subjects,” he wrote on Twitter.
Leif Engstrom, a Redbull athlete, was arrested in Rincon for what I can only describe as attempting to surf. Per the article, the charge was “surfing,” but Leif said the following: I wasn’t even in the water yet. I was walking. My hair was dry.
Golf was also banned during Covid.
PR had a convenient policy to open for asshole tourists (see Infected Tourists Are Coming to Puerto Rico), collecting their money, then putting the island on lockdown, citing an uptick in numbers. Como se dice, ‘money grab?’
In its latest attempt to curb the spread of Covid, the island of Puerto Rico has come up with its most asinine plan yet. It includes closing the pool at my villa for the next month, despite no one using it in general. It includes no alcohol sales on the weekend, both at stores and at restaurants, which is a great idea for killing small businesses. And it includes a stay at home order for Sundays. The beaches are already closed, though you would not know it from the onslaught of tourists (see Frontier Airlines: The Covid Super Spreader for Puerto Rico ).
Starting Friday the new curfew will be 10PM to 5AM, and all businesses will close at 9PM. The governor cites the uptick in COVID cases for instituting this measure. This pointless measure is another example of how the government has no clue how to handle the pandemic, despite dealing with it for over a year.
The schizophrenic strategy for dealing with COVID has taken its toll on my mental health. With the vaccination rollout going smoothly, I thought that life was finally going to get back to normal. Instead, we are going in the wrong direction and with no plausible explanation for why we are doing so. Exactly one year ago, I warned about the dangers of government overstepping civil liberties under the guise of protecting the interest of its people. We have been on lockdown since March of 2020. This crackdown is not justified. It’s time to sound the alarm on this abuse of power.
The measure isn’t effective immediately. There’s a chance for a super spreader event this 4th of July. COVID knows this which is why pragmatic progress can’t begin until July 5th.
As of December 27th, 2021, all passengers arriving on domestic flights are required to show a negative test result taken within 48 hours before arrival time, regardless of vaccination status. Passengers arriving without a test will have 48 hours to take one upon arrival or be subject to a fine.
Three Years Later
More than three years after the pandemic began, Puerto Rico is still a shell of itself. Restaurants that used to close at midnight, close at 8 PM. My favorite BBQ spot, El Verde, still doesn’t let customers sit at the bar. And, despite scientific proof of the limited efficacy of masks, a significant amount of the population insists on wearing them. Some still do so in their car while riding alone.
In less than three years, Puerto Rico went from a party (see Where to Party Old San Juan: Best, Worst, Oldest, Grossest), carefree island to a rules-based, paranoid society.
This brings me to the latest regulation. Seizing on the feeble resistance to Covid measures, the mayor of San Juan is cracking down on alcohol sales (Hard-partying Puerto Rico capital faces new code that will limit alcohol sales).
“San Juan Mayor Miguel Romero on Tuesday signed a new measure to prohibit alcohol sales after certain hours, saying he was “morally convinced” it was the right thing to do. Under the new code, businesses in San Juan can only serve or sell alcohol from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. from Sunday to Thursday, and up to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, and on Sunday if Monday is a holiday.”
Like Covid restrictions which were targeted at residents, the restrictions on the sale of alcohol will not apply to hotels that are exempt from the measure. Like Covid restrictions, the policy may be amended every 6 months.
Morally convinced? What does that mean? So, I can be hammered and belligerent so long as I do it by 1AM Monday thru Thursday? On Friday, I can extend my belligerence by an hour. And of course, if there’s a holiday on Monday, the moral police won’t mind if I stay out too late on Sunday. Morality as the basis for law should make everyone uncomfortable.
Who does this hurt? Local bars and businesses will be killed by this measure, just as they were during Covid. Why can the Marriott bar stay open all hours but my local bar has to close? This hardly seems like a coincidence.
Every 6 months:
Authoritarian Mayor: If you behave, dear children, we may let you stay out an hour later.
Population: Yes, dear leader.
Rights were taken away during Covid. This became the new normal. What’s next? No dancing? I wouldn’t rule that out.