Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Officials in Costa Rica to further ease business restrictions June 1-19. Borders closed until June 30 due to COVID-19 activity.

This alert affects Costa Rica

This alert began 01 Jun 2020 07:43 GMT and is scheduled to expire 19 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: International and internal transport disruptions, significant business disruptions, increased security

Summary
Authorities in Costa Rica announced they would initiate Phase 3 of the reopening of the economy from June 1. Under this phase, which extends through June 19, the government will relax some business and movement restrictions and maintain others to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Authorities also extended a ban on entry for nonresident foreign nationals into the country by air, maritime, or ground borders, until June 30. Citizens and legal residents will still be allowed to enter but will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival. Air, ground, and maritime freight transport, as well as humanitarian operations, are not affected by these restrictions. However, disruptions to cargo transportation are possible at the ground borders due to reciprocated limitations on foreign truck drivers.

As of June 1, authorities will maintain existing vehicular restrictions. Private vehicles will be allowed to circulate Monday through Friday 0500-2200, except those with license plates ending in:

  • Monday: 1 and 2
  • Tuesday: 3 and 4
  • Wednesday: 5 and 6
  • Thursday: 7 and 8
  • Friday: 9 and 0


Saturdays and Sundays private vehicles will be allowed to circulate between 0500-1900. Vehicles with license plates ending in 0, 2, 4, 6, and 8 will not be allowed to operate on Saturdays, and those with license plates ending in 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 will not be permitted on the streets on Sundays. No private vehicles will be allowed 1900-0500.

Previously authorized businesses and facilities may continue to operate under current schedules. As of June 1, officials will further ease business restrictions as follow:

  • Hotels, cabins, and other accommodation establishments may reopen Monday-Sunday, at a maximum of 50 percent capacity.
  • Restaurants, cafes, food courts, gymnasiums, and swimming schools may only open on weekends, at a maximum of 50 percent capacity.
  • Museums and noncontact arts academies may reopen between 0500-2200, Monday to Friday, at a maximum of 50 percent capacity.
  • Event rooms may function exclusively for activities of a maximum of 30 people (includes organizers, guests, and required personnel), ensuring 1.8 meters (six feet) between each person, subject to the vehicular restrictions.


Other nonessential businesses will remain closed, and mass public gatherings are still prohibited. The following stage of the reopening plan is likely to take effect on June 20, depending on local disease activity and government preparedness to respond to the disease. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice.

Background and Analysis
The recovery plan was initiated May 16, and takes place within a four-tiered system of gradually reopening the economy, through at least the end of July. Should the number of COVID-19 cases significantly increase, relaxed restrictions may be reapplied. Likewise, a continued low number of cases may result in further relaxation of restrictions. The restrictions enforced by the Costa Rican government correspond with similar actions previously taken by other governments globally in response to the spread of COVID-19, a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in the areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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