Puerto Rico restricting business hours amid case surge

Puerto Rico will not allow businesses to operate after midnight as of Tuesday, in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. territory.

Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro PierluisiPedro Rafael PierluisiJudge releases Puerto Rico from bankruptcy protection Puerto Rico requiring boosters for public school students, workers in tourism, entertainment Puerto Rico restricting business hours amid case surge MORE (D) published an executive order on Friday mandating closures of businesses that cater to the public between midnight and 5 a.m., banning alcohol sales during those hours, and prohibiting gatherings of more than 250 people.

Pierluisi's edict came into effect on Tuesday, after the December holidays, and will remain in effect until Jan. 18.

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"We all want transmission to be reduced and to protect our children and young people to return safely to schools, which is why these restrictions are necessary. As I've said, I will remain vigilant to any spike of cases on the island to establish any additional measures that may be necessary," Pierluisi said in a statement.

The seven-day average of new cases in Puerto Rico has jumped from just above 100 in mid-December to 9,976 on Monday, according to The New York Times.

On Sunday, 26,098 new cases were reported, suggesting that holiday celebrations contributed to further spread of the virus.

New hospitalizations jumped from a low of about three a day just before Christmas to 20 on Monday.

According to the Puerto Rico Department of Health, 90 percent of the island's residents have taken at least one vaccine, and 80 percent are fully vaccinated.

In his executive order, Pierluisi said he is preparing a new mandate to enforce booster shots.