Puerto Rico to Send Cash to Nurses, Police in Virus Response

(Bloomberg) --

Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vazquez said a $787 million coronavirus relief package will include cash payments to nurses and police and vulnerable parts of the island’s economy.

The island’s 170,000 self-employed workers will get cash payments of $500 apiece starting this week, while small businesses that have had to shutter operations will get $1,500 each.

Nurses and ambulance workers will be eligible for bonuses of as much as $4,000; police and fire fighters for up to $3,500; and medical technicians’ payments set at as much as $2,500.

The island is still working through a bankruptcy to restructure its massive debts, but it has moved swiftly to address the pandemic, which threatens to overwhelm its fragile health-care system. The federally-appointed board that oversees its finances approved the measures Monday.

Coronavirus brought ashore in Puerto Rico by cruise ship passengers is especially perilous for the densely populated commonwealth, because so many health-care workers have fled the island in years past.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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