Puerto Rico COVID-19 Losses Estimated at Over $9 billion
SAN JUAN — After the seventh week of the COVID-19 lockdown, Puerto Rico has experienced losses of more than $9 billion, thus it is necessary to continue with plans to revive the economy.
That is what Carlos López Lay, president and chief executive officer of the Bella Group and member of the government administration’s economic task force, said Wednesday.
“Based on the preliminary numbers we have, it has already cost the country’s economy over $9 billion. With each passing week we are talking about practically $1.5 billion more. I am not an economist, but those are the studies that have been presented to us,” López Lay said in a radio interview (NotiUno).
The island’s governor, Wanda Vázquez Garced, imposed a curfew and business closure order since March 15 to counter the spread of this condition and it was extended until May 3. Various sectors of the country are currently demanding a gradual reopening of local economic activity.
López Lay said that over 65,000 people have continued to work amid the emergency and that only 25 infections have been identified.
“For 45 or 46 days, we have been in our houses, we have been following instructions, we have seen that a good decision was made (with the lockdown). But, until when are we going to remain in our houses when we are seeing the suffering of various sectors, especially the health sector?” the Puerto Rican businessman asked.
Likewise, he indicated that an initiative called “We are ready, it is up to all of us” was begun and includes business people and non-profit organizations in order to reinitiate economic activity.
“It touches us all with new behaviors and habits. We cannot wait to leave our homes until the vaccine or medicine arrives. We have to integrate ourselves slowly, gradually, but we have to start now. The measures are in place and we know what they are. There have been infections, but they are really minimal,” López Lay said.
“We sat down with the governor for two hours, we talked to her, it was explained to her, examples were brought to her. We spoke candidly. I know that she has a difficult situation on her hands. Make a decision or not make a decision, both will have an impact. She has to understand that it is necessary to have a balance and to continue with the due precautions,” he concluded.