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Puerto Rico Loosens Covid Restrictions

As of Wednesday, February 2, domestic groups looking for a Caribbean destination without the hassle of Covid testing finally have an option—as long as attendees are vaccinated.

Puerto Rico has dropped its requirement that vaccinated U.S. travelers arriving on the island show proof of a negative Covid-19 test within 48 hours of arrival. The requirement, in effect since December, had added a level of difficulty and uncertainty for groups considering Puerto Rico for upcoming events.

In addition, there’s no testing requirement when people return to the U.S. from Puerto Rico. As a U.S. territory, the island is not subject to the CDC requirement that travelers, regardless of nationality or vaccine status, provide a negative Covid test result when coming into the U.S

No testing requirements to enter or return to the mainland U.S. puts Puerto Rico in a unique position among Caribbean islands. The U.S. Virgin Islands continues to require all travelers regardless of vaccine status to present a negative Covid test upon arrival.

However, in Puerto Rico, restrictions are still in place for travelers coming from the mainland U.S. who are unwilling or unable to be vaccinated against Covid. They must show a negative test result from the last two days or take a test within 48 hours of arrival and then quarantine while awaiting results.

Puerto Rico’s less restrictive rules go into effect Wednesday, February 2. In addition to dropping test requirements for arriving vaccinated travelers, restaurants can now operate at 75 percent capacity indoors (up from 50 percent) and at 100 percent capacity outdoors (up from 75 percent).  Through mid-February, people attending large-scale events will still be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative test. Masks are still required indoors.

In other Covid-related travel news, Hawaii has announced plans to tighten its entry requirements. Soon, it won’t be enough to be vaccinated to avoid having to show a negative Covid test (or quarantine for five days)—travelers will have to prove they’ve had a booster shot as well. The booster rule is already in effect for Maui and is expected to be enforced statewide in the coming weeks.

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