Scenes of American tourists visiting Kovid-19 and violating orders during a visit to Puerto Rico have sparked outrage among residents who fear that their efforts to control the epidemic may be surprised as more visitors arrive during the spring break.
Israel Melandez Ayala, a longtime resident of Old San Juan, saw many tourists without masks when he and his companion went for a walk with their dog this week.
They were behaving as if no one else existed in old San Juan, “Melandez Ayala told NBC News.” I don’t mind if people want to have a good time, but they have to live with respect – we’re still living in the midst of an epidemic and people can’t come here and act like the virus exists … they have a sense of entitlement and indifference that I don’t understand.
Puerto Ricans on U.S. soil have so far avoided overrunning their already fragile healthcare system during the epidemic, essentially the extraordinary measures that local governments initially took, and the public is eager to agree to. Puerto Rico was one of the first U.S. jurisdictions to issue a mask order and currently has the longest epidemic curfew in any state.
In multiple viral videos, tourists have violated the island’s midnight curfew, mask orders and physical distance directions, among other restrictions. In other videos, chaotic tourists descend into fights, dance on moving vehicles, and destroy private property in well-known tourist spots around the metropolitan area of Puerto Rico. As seen in one of the most viral videos, a tourist rides a scooter in the middle of a busy highway in the capital, San Juan.
“We’re seeing a chaotic situation, something we’ve never seen before,” San Juan resident Oscar Medina told WKU, a local TV news station on NBC’s sister network Telemundo in Puerto Rico. “Most tourists in Old San Juan and Condo behave aggressively at night, not wearing their masks and not leaving their trash behind,” he said.
Evelyn Lopez, another resident across the Airbnb apartment in Old San Juan, said tourists staying there often “have loud music, talk loudly and engage in arguments”.
At night, it was almost as if we had no curfew, “LaPage told KAQ.” People walk until 1, 2, or even 3 in the morning, especially on weekends. “The island currently has a midnight curfew.
Puerto Rico is becoming a popular destination for mainland Americans as most travel in the world is restricted.
“Because of the cheap flights, we’re getting tourists we’re not used to seeing,” said a team of science experts advising Pedro Pierre Lewis, president and governor of the Puerto Rico Medical Association. Victor Ramos said.
Ramos said that before the epidemic, most of the community events on the island could be linked to Puerto Rico’s main airport, mainly from travelers to mainland Puerto Rican Island, Ramos said. The Puerto Rico case has not seen much progress since December, when the death of Corrid-19 escalated in the vicinity of Thanksgiving.
As Puerto Rico continues to reopen and welcome more tourists, experts and residents fear that the reluctance of travelers to follow the Covid-19 protocols may still make some progress.
About 130 residents in Old San Juan met Thursday and called on authorities to take action to control the behavior of tourists and visitors who refuse to comply with the Kovid-19 protocol. During the meeting, residents said they observed that police “did not say anything” to abuse tourists, or saw tourists ignore the Covid protocol after confronting them.
It seems we are not responding to the incident, but we are, “said Police Commissioner Antonio LaPage Figueroa a few days ago. He encouraged residents who recorded the incident to contact police immediately to make sure officers could respond to the scene.
Just last weekend, police imposed more than 500 fines, including 110 for not wearing a mask, LaPage Figueroa said. Puerto Rican police have promised to increase their presence in tourist areas in Condado, Old San Juan, Santuras and Isla Verde to ensure tourists follow the curfew.
At least 1,099 people have been arrested for violating Covid-19 restrictions, which have been under executive order since the epidemic began, Lepez Figuero said last week, adding that Puerto Rican police have received at least 3,6869 complaints about Covid-19 violations.