Puerto Rico started to allow the reopening of businesses on May 4th, and is looking forward to resuming the tourist industry. Tourism was on the rise before the pandemic hit, but after cases of COVID-19 showed up in tourists, Governor Vazquez Garced stopped welcoming visitors.
Cruise ships and airplanes were limited, and those visitors who did arrive were compelled to spend 14 days in quarantine. Island-wide curfews kept visitors in their hotel rooms, and few destinations were open.
Now, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC) is offering gold star certification in the form of Health and Safety Seals for hospitality companies that meet the highest standard of preparation.
The standards for this certification come from the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, the Puerto Rico Department of Health, and similar programs elsewhere in the world. The objective is to provide destinations for visitors with the highest levels of hygiene and safety.
Requirements for certification
In addition to stringent standards of cleanliness and disinfection, the program also requires new forms of check in and check out that limit contact, social distancing, and appropriate personal protection equipment.
Hotels, restaurants, and nightclubs are in the forefront of the businesses striving for certification, but tour operators, smaller inns and rental properties, casinos, and other tourist attractions will also be covered.
Of the four million visitors Puerto Rico expects to see in a given year, 500,000 arrive by cruise ship. The alternative is air travel. Both cruise ships and airplanes will face challenges rebuilding confidence among travelers. However, Puerto Rico plans to be a desirable destination.
The early lockdown of the territory, with curfews and business closings before most states, has kept the number of cases of COVID-19 in Puerto Rico low compared with most states.
Combined with the Health and Safety Seals certification program, this should help visitors feel confident about visiting Puerto Rico.