Puerto Rico imposes $100 mask fines, heightens police efforts as it grapples with aggressive tourists

San Juan, Puerto Rico.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico –  As a bartender at La Factoría, a popular bar in Puerto Rico, Celso Meléndez Vázquez has had a front row seat to the rise of misbehaving tourists in the island’s capital. 

Meléndez Vázquez works and lives in the popular tourist area of Old San Juan, and he was nervous about all the violent incidents happening with tourists around the area who refused to adhere to local face mask requirements. 

“I would sometimes go to work thinking, ‘Is this the day I’m going to have some aggressive interaction with someone?'”

When he clocked out of work, he would encounter a sea of people in the streets not wearing masks.

The current executive order in Puerto Rico, enacted on Feb. 8, says masks must be worn at all times, including outdoors. The island’s curfew also runs from midnight to 5 a.m., and businesses are allowed to stay open until 11 p.m.

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