RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP via Getty Images
Puerto Rico is requiring all visitors flying into the US territory to take a coronavirus test 72 hours before their arrival.
Those who don't, or who test positive, will be forced to quarantine for two weeks and take a molecular test while there.
All commercial flights will continue to be limited to Puerto Rico's main international airport in San Juan.
Puerto Rico is still struggling with the coronavirus, with record-high new infections last week, according to the Washington Post.
Those aching for a getaway after months stuck at home can now escape to Puerto Rico, but only if they take a coronavirus test first.
Starting Wednesday, the US territory will require all arriving passengers at the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport — the only airport currently accepting commercial flights — to provide results from a recent molecular coronavirus test.
If the arriving passenger doesn't comply, or they provide a positive test result, they will be forced to quarantine and take a coronavirus test there, Governor Wanda Vázquez announced last month. In order to be released from quarantine, the passengers will be made to share those results with the airport, which will be assisted by the local National Guard.
Arriving visitors will also need to fill out a declaration form and wear a mask at the airport.
—La Fortaleza (@fortalezapr) June 30, 2020
July 15 kicks off the reopening of Puerto Rico's inbound tourism. Many recreational activities — like museums, spas, and theaters — have already reopened at 75 percent capacity. Sunbathing on beaches is allowed, but groups are limited to members of the same household, according to the Associated Press.
But the crisis is not yet over in Puerto Rico. The territory recorded a record-high average of new infections in the past week, according to the Washington Post. As of Monday, 10,010 total cases of the coronavirus had been confirmed in Puerto Rico, an island of 3.2 million people. There have been at least 167 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
By requiring visitors arriving by plane to provide results from a nose or throat swab test, the government is hoping to limit the spread of the contagious virus.
"We cannot let our guard down, especially with people who live elsewhere and are infected," Vázquez told the Associated Press.
The new rules come as US states like Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California battle a resurgence in cases.
Messages sent to the Puerto Rico Department of Health were not immediately returned.
Those who violate quarantine orders face fines
Puerto Rico Health Secretary Lorenzo González told reporters last month that the government will not be able to monitor every person ordered into quarantine.
Puerto Rico will be using the "Sara Alert" monitoring system to randomly track passengers, he said.
AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo, File
Those who do not respond to the related phone calls, personal visits, and messages will be fined, he said.
Puerto Rico went into lockdown in March and began reopening its economy at the end of May.
Airlines operating at the San Juan airport are at 56% capacity, and there has been a 76% drop in passengers, according to July 1 data provided by Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport.
Carla Campos, executive director of Puerto Rico's Tourism Company, told the AP that the island expects to receive up to 9,000 passengers a day in the coming months. At the end of June, it was receiving around 4,500, according to the AP.
"We are certain that the assurances and security these measures provide, coupled with the experiences that make Puerto Rico such an attractive destination, will play a vital role in the short-term recovery of the travel industry of the Island," Campos said in a statement.
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