Is it safe to travel to Puerto Rico? Should I / should travelers cancel their trips?
If you are sick, an older adult, or someone with chronic medical conditions, leading health authorities recommend delaying or avoiding travel. All commercial flights are being diverted to SJU to control passenger traffic and arriving passengers may be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days, regardless of symptoms. Visitors should check the latest travel advisory for more information
If I’m in Puerto Rico or going to Puerto Rico, are things open or operating normally?
To protect your health and safety, travelers should note there are measures in place that are being strictly enforced, including social distancing and face coverings being required regardless of activity. The Island has implemented an Island-wide curfew for everyone, including tourists, through June 15, 2020 from 7:00 PM - 5:00 AM. The only exceptions are for those who are working or in cases of emergency.
On May 26, restaurants, small businesses, and shopping centers will open with restrictions, including social distancing and face coverings required in public areas. Residents and tourists need to abide by these policies or they will be subject to repercussions, which consist of a fine of up to $5,000 and run the risk of being arrested. Below, please find information on key travel operations.
- Airports: All commercial flights are being diverted to SJU to control passenger traffic. Adjustments in travel itineraries are at the discretion of each airline, in accordance with travel restrictions, as determined by the U.S. federal government. Usual operations at the airport are not affected by the curfew, which means passengers arriving or departing from the airports after curfew will be able to transit to and from their respective destination. The Puerto Rico National Guard is assisting with health screenings of all incoming passengers. Additionally, rapid COVID-19 testing is being offered. Arriving passengers may be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days, regardless of symptoms.
- Cruise operations: All ports are currently closed for cruise ship vessels.
- Hotels: Most hotels remain open, with distancing measures and face coverings mandatory in public areas, while amenities such as spas, pools, and recreational areas closed. Room service will remain available for guests. Restaurants inside hotels are open and can welcome guests at 25% capacity starting May 26 but are otherwise limited to carry out or delivery services. A list of Puerto Rico Tourism Company endorsed hotels that are currently open, can be found here.
- Restaurants + Supermarkets: Starting May 26, restaurants will open at 25% capacity and delivery for both restaurants and supermarkets has been extended until midnight. Restaurants will perform temperature checks before entering; those with temperatures over 100.3 will be denied entry.
- Small Businesses + Shopping Centers: Will reopen on May 26, from 9 AM – 5 PM Monday through Friday, and capacity at no more than 50%. Clothing stores will not permit try-ons in the store.
- Barbers + Salons: Will reopen on May 26, from Monday through Friday from 9 AM - 5 PM by appointment only as guests will not be permitted to wait in waiting areas.
- Casinos: Will remain closed until further notice.
- Beaches + Golf Courses: Beginning May 26, open only for exercise purposes, with no loitering.
- Tours: All tours will be closed until further notice.
How can travelers protect themselves?
We urge travelers to adhere to the measures put in place by the government of Puerto Rico, which includes abiding by the curfew, social distancing and face coverings. The mandates are being strictly enforced, which means residents and tourists need to abide by these new policies or they will be subject to repercussions, which consist of a fine of up to $5,000 or being arrested.
Additionally, travelers should adhere to healthy travel practices to help protect themselves and prevent the spread of disease. These are the same personal best practices that are standard for a typical flu season and include avoiding close contact with people who show signs of illness, avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, and washing your hands often with soap or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) coronavirus (COVID-19) webpage.
What should travelers do if they begin experiencing COVID-19 symptoms? What immediate steps should they take?
Travelers experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should stay in their hotel rooms and contact their hotel front desk to get support. If travelers are not staying at a hotel, contact the nearest hospital directly. It’s important that travelers and hotel staff call hospitals first before visiting, so that appropriate transportation, screening, and care can be arranged, to protect those feeling ill and others.
Puerto Rico hospitals adhere to the same federally mandated health safety guidelines as those on the mainland. Common mainland franchises like Walgreens and CVS pharmacies are available Island-wide and are enforcing high standards of health safety throughout the Island.
What actions is the Island taking to prevent the spread of coronavirus?
Puerto Rico was the first U.S. destination to implement a curfew, effective for everyone including tourists, which is in effect through June 15, from 7:00 PM - 5:00 AM. The only exceptions to the curfew are for those who are working or in cases of emergency. Strict social distancing measures are in place Island-wide, with face coverings mandatory in public.
The Puerto Rico National Guard is conducting health screenings at the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan (SJU). Rapid COVID-19 testing is offered and arriving passengers may be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days, regardless of symptoms.
The tourism industry in Puerto Rico has also taken specific steps to ensure that partners on the Island and their teams have the latest information on COVID-19, including prevention measures on the Island, personal prevention tips to use themselves and to share with travelers, cleaning and disinfecting protocols, and guidance for what to do if they or their guests begin experiencing symptoms.
What health & safety protocols does the Island have in place?
High standards of health and safety have been implemented throughout the Island, which include locally enforced measures developed by the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC), alongside U.S. Travel Association (USTA) guidelines, to safeguard the wellbeing of residents and visitors.
Transportation: Certified transportation carriers will properly disinfect vehicles and have hand sanitizer available. Drivers will wear gloves when handling doors and luggage. Face coverings will be mandatory for drivers and passengers. Ridesharing options like Uber have released regulations that also mandate face coverings for drivers and passengers, with no front seat passengers permitted.
Dining: Options within the lodging section will ensure floor plans maintain distancing protocols, with buffets, salad bars, and self-serve options eliminated, and reusable menus prohibited. Employees will be required to use face coverings and if serving guests, gloves.
Lodging: Thoroughly sanitized properties that follow PRTC standards will be certified with Island-specific health certification seals. Guests will receive a Health & Safety guide detailing the specialized measures implemented by each property individually. We recommend visitors connect with their hotels/hosts directly for additional information.
- Hotels/Resorts: Will conduct temperature checks, screen symptoms, and disinfect luggage in reception areas upon entry while following high standards of cleanliness and housekeeping procedures in accordance with CDC and EPA guidelines. Face coverings will be required in public areas, with limited capacity encouraged in elevators. Furniture, chairs, tables, and surfaces will be sanitized continuously, with fitness centers/spas closed until further notice.
- Short-Term Rentals: Will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, following the health and safety protocol enforced by the Government and the PRTC, including the proper sanitation of kitchenware, glassware, and utensils. Each will be equipped with hand soap, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes for guest convenience. Guests are required to complete a Travel Declaration Form, with guests encouraged to make a claim to the PRTC should they find the unit did not meet these requirements.
Attractions: Public beaches, natural reserves, and golf courses will limit access only for exercise and individual sports starting May 26. Malls will enforce social distancing and may require appointments. Hand sanitizing stations will be set up in targeted areas like entryways, elevator banks, and high-traffic spots. Cleaning and disinfection of surfaces will be augmented, while employees will be screened daily for symptoms.
Casinos & Gaming: When casinos reopen, there will be wellness checkpoints at points of entry which will consist of temperature checks and hand sanitation. Gaming stations (slot machines, chairs, and tables) will be properly cleaned and disinfected every hour, after each guest, or upon guest request. Social distancing and face coverings will be required, and gloves will be used by casino personnel and guests at gaming tables.
Are Island hospitals equipped to address coronavirus?
All hospitals on the Island have established protocols for admitting, treating, and collecting samples from patients who are experiencing symptoms, and hospital staff will work with the Department of Health if testing is needed. Funds have been made available on the Island to help hospitals prepare facilities, purchase materials, and train nurses and paramedic staff.
Puerto Rico also has epidemiologists throughout the Island, who specialize in disease control and prevention, to advise on transportation, testing and care for individuals who think they may have COVID-19.
Where will people be housed if they need to be quarantined?
If cases arise, these decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis with local health authorities. Hospitals have prepared facilities for potential patients. If hotel guests are directed to self-isolate by the CDC, CBP, or PRDH, there are protocols for management to follow to keep staff safe.
What will hotels, restaurants, and tour operators do if a staff member tests positive?
The CDC has outlined specific guidance for businesses and employers, with information on what to do if employees are sick, cleaning advice, and contingency planning.
Along with the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC), we have also provided guidance and information to all tourism partners. The industry has specific measures in place to ensure hotel management, businesses, and other partners within the industry have the latest information on COVID-19, including prevention measures on the Island, personal prevention tips for their teams and travelers, cleaning and disinfecting protocols, and guidance for what to do if their staff or guests begin experiencing symptoms.
It is critical to seek medical advice from a regional epidemiologist if you are concerned your guests or staff may have COVID-19. Symptoms include, but are not limited to, fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue and shortness of breath. The Puerto Rico Health Department has specific protocols in place with state epidemiologists to screen and test patients. More information on specific steps can be found in the latest industry guidance from the Puerto Rico Tourism Company.
What will hotels, restaurants, and tour operators do if a tourist who has recently visited them tests positive?
Along with the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC), we have provided guidance and information to all tourism partners. The industry has specific measures in place to ensure hotel management, businesses, and other partners have the latest information on COVID-19, including prevention measures on the Island, personal prevention tips for their teams and travelers, cleaning and disinfecting protocols, and guidance for what to do if their staff or guests begin experiencing symptoms. More information on specific steps can be found in the latest industry guidance from the Puerto Rico Tourism Company. This guidance is consistent with what the CDC has outlined for businesses and employers.
Given the curfew issued by the Governor of Puerto Rico, do tourists have to stay in their rooms?
From 7 PM to 5 AM, yes, tourists are not permitted to go out unless it’s an emergency. The Governor of Puerto Rico announced that public beaches, natural reserves, and golf courses will gradually reopen with limited access only for exercise and individual sports starting May 26, as part of the Island’s responsible, four-phased reopening plan. Face masks are mandatory when in public and malls and restaurants will reopen but enforce social distancing, with floor plans and capacities adjusted, as the health and safety of visitors and residents remain a top priority.
Can tourists staying at hotels use the pool and/or go to the beach?
We recommend travelers reach out to their respective hotel property or short-term rental host for further guidance on protocols. Social distancing and other measures are in place to protect the health and safety of residents and guests.
Can I go to Vieques & Culebra?
To combat the spread of COVID-19 and protect its residents, the mayors of Vieques and Culebra issued an executive order that prohibits visitors.
Can I hang out in the lobby of my hotel when I’m in Puerto Rico?
If in a public area of a hotel or resort, social distancing and face coverings are mandatory. Please consult with your specific property for other policies in place.
Are the beaches OK to go to if I keep my distance from people?
Public beaches are open only for exercise, with loitering not permitted. Residents and tourists need to abide by these policies, or they will be subject to repercussions, which consist of a fine of up to $5,000 or being arrested. While these government mandates may disrupt your visit to the Island, keeping our visitors and residents safe is our number one priority right now.
If I am out on the street strolling, will I get in trouble?
Strolling is permitted with the proper distancing and face-covering measures in place, and if it is not during the hours of curfew (7 PM - 5 AM). If visitors chose not to abide by these measures, they run the risk of being fined up to $5,000 or being arrested.