Thursday, October 22, 2020

Chambers of Commerce oppose potential lockdown amid rise in Covid-19 cases

By on September 30, 2020

Coalition warns administration that more restrictions would be disastrous

SAN JUAN —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, said Wednesday that it opposes the government decreeing a total closure due to the rise in COVID-19 cases.

The coalition of CofCs represents more than 1,100 companies and 80,000 employees.

The president of the Southern CofC, Luis Alvarado Cintrón, said that “if a total closure occurs again, it would be disastrous for companies, since many are reeling [while trying] 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.”

The president of the Western CofC, Waleska Sánchez de Gutiérrez, commented that, “the infection problem is not occurring in companies…it happens in the community, family parties, sharing without using personal protection measures. Education regarding the consequences of COVID 19 and law enforcement should be strengthened.”

Companies in the south and west suffered their first closure in early January as a result of the earthquake and its aftershocks, which led many to cease operations, the coalition said.

The president of the Puerto Rico CofC, Juan Carlos Agosto, added: “We support the provisions of the new Executive Order that expanded the types of businesses that can open. We must not limit commerce again. The private sector has to return to normality in terms of its operations without lowering its guard in terms of safety measures. The opposite would keep our economy on the precipice, affecting our businesses and the quality of life of citizens.

“The elimination of the mandatory Sunday closings is also a wise measure that must be maintained to return to a regular business environment, where consumers can have longer and more comfortable hours to make their purchases, which will eliminate crowding and lines outside the stores. These recommendations respond to data showing that the private sector has done its part in maintaining a safe environment for its consumers.”