A man has been arrested on suspicion of assault after attacking a Department of Health employee at Puerto Rico’s Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport located three miles outside of San Juan. The victim was attacked, it’s alleged after he asked Adrien Williams to put on a face mask and complete a mandatory health declaration before leaving the baggage reclaim hall.
The aftermath of the assault, which occurred at around 10:15 pm on Saturday night, was captured on cellphone video as passengers and hazmat suited healthcare workers ducked for cover. Williams may not have realised that Puerto Rico National Guardsmen have been assisting the enhanced health screening at the airport.
Puerto Rico governor Wanda Vázquez Garced has imposed stringent entry requirements on new arrivals because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with providing a negative test result dated within 72-hours of travel, passengers must also complete a health declaration, submit themselves to agents and wear a face mask at all times in public.
Passengers can still enter Puerto Rico without a negative test certificate but they must then go into quarantine for a full 14-days.
The victim, who has been identified as Nelson Juarbe, says Williams ignored instructions to put on a face mask and refused to provide personal details as required by law. He then allegedly launched an attack at the victim’s face before he was subdued in a melee that sent chairs and desk flying.
A female passenger who has been identified as Ashley Nicole Williams was also taken into custody by Puerto Rico police officers, although it’s not known whether she has been accused of a crime.
Adrien Williams is due to appear in court on December 4 charged with simple assault.
A night-time curfew remains in effect in Puerto Rico between 10 pm and 5 am until at least December 11th. Public beaches are now open but only for walking, swimming or sports and face masks must be worn when not in the water.
Restaurants, casinos, and museums are all operating at just 30 per cent capacity, as are hotel pools and many other establishments.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.