Puerto Rico limits the hours of places that sell alcohol

Restaurants that sell only food and nonalcoholic beverages appear to be exempted, along with supermarkets and sources of health supplies.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Establishments in Puerto Rico that sell alcoholic beverages will be required to close daily at 6 p.m. starting today under a shutdown of most business by executive order from Gov. Wanda Vazquez Garced.

The suspension in service applies to most businesses in the island territory, with the exceptions of “pharmacies, supermarkets, gas stations, banking or financial institutions, and those related to the food, medicine, medical items or fuel distribution chain,” the governor said in issuing her executive order. Restaurants that sell food but not alcoholic beverages are presumed to be included in that group.

However, restaurants may nonetheless be affected by a daily curfew Vazquez imposed on all residents starting immediately. Citizens are prohibited from being outside their homes from 9 p.m. through 5 a.m. The curfew will run at least until March 30, Vazquez said.

She did not say when the forced shutdown of businesses might be lifted.

The governor did not address the applicability to restaurants that stop offering beer, wine or spirits and limit their menus to food and nonalcoholic beverages. 

The measure was among the most sweeping efforts to date to slow the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, by forcing social distancing.

New York City and Chicago have set capacity limits on restaurants. Lawmakers and regulators across the mainland have acknowledged the possibility of imposing shutdowns on businesses and restaurants and bars in particular within their jurisdictions.

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