Spokesmen for the shopping centers affirmed that they comply with all the security measures imposed by the health authorities to prevent the spread of COVID-19, so they do not support the possibility of a total closure in the next executive order that the governor will make. (Archive / The New Day)
Two days before the expiration of the current Executive Order, representatives of the commercial sector raise their voices to object that a total closure be decreed in the coming days and ensure that they comply with all hygiene and safety protocols required by the state government and federal.
On the one hand, the Coalition of Chambers of Commerce – made up of the Southern Chamber of Commerce, the Western Chamber of Commerce and the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce – has expressed that it opposes the government ordering a total closure by the rise in COVID-19 cases. This coalition represents over 1,100 businesses and 80,000 employees.
“If a total closure occurs again, it would be disastrous for companies, since many are reeling to survive and maintain their operations, amid the pandemic and the tremors that affect us in the south . It is time to focus on prevention and advise on compliance with COVID-19 plans, “said Luis Alvarado Cintrón , president of the Southern Chamber of Commerce.
The president of the Western Chamber of Commerce, Waleska Sánchez de Gutiérrez , commented that, “ the contagion problem is not occurring in companies . Now it happens in the community, family parties, sharing without using personal protection measures. Education regarding the consequences of COVID 19 and law enforcement must be strengthened ”.
It should be noted that companies in the south and west suffered their first closure in early January as a result of the earthquake and its seismic sequences, which has led many to cease operations.
For his part, Juan Carlos Agosto , president of the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce (CCPR), maintained that his entity supports the provisions of the current Executive Order that expanded the type of businesses that can open, so it does not favor order a full close on the next order.
“We must not limit trade again. The private sector has to return to normality in terms of its operations without lowering its guard in terms of security measures. The opposite would keep our economy on the precipice, affecting our businesses and the quality of life of citizens, ”said Agosto.
“The elimination of the mandatory closure on Sundays is also a wise measure that must be maintained to return to a regular business environment, where the consumer can have a longer and more comfortable hours to make their purchases, which will eliminate conglomerations and lines outside of the stores. These recommendations respond to the data that show that the private sector has fulfilled its part in maintaining a safe environment for its consumers ”, added the president of the CCPR.
Meanwhile, on the other hand, the Association of Puerto Rican Shopping Centers (ACCP), reaffirmed that they strictly comply with health protocols and have not been the focus of infections.
“In the shopping centers that the ACCP groups, the use of a mask is mandatory, many take temperature at the entrances, we provide hand sanitizer, we ensure physical distancing, we regulate the capacity of visitors, we direct pedestrian traffic so that it is in a single direction and eliminated chairs and tables to guarantee distance in common areas, “said Adolfo” Tito “González , president of the ACCP in written statements.
“Our work as a group has been focused on collaborating with the government and complying with the guidelines and recommendations to help fight this virus . The reopening in June and recently the flexibility of being able to operate on Sundays, are the result of doing things the right way, to protect our employees, tenants and visitors and to continue moving our economy ”, said the president of the ACCP.
” The shopping centers have not been sources of contagion at any time. On the other hand, we are safe places where visitors can go to receive services and make their purchases and where small and medium-sized merchants in our country can continue to offer jobs to their people, ”added González.