Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Costa Rica to relax some restrictions on nonessential activity May 1-15. Other internal movement and border restrictions remain unchanged.

This alert affects Costa Rica

This alert began 28 Apr 2020 10:33 GMT and is scheduled to expire 15 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 15
  • Impact: International and internal transport disruptions, significant business disruptions, increased security

Summary
Authorities in Costa Rica will begin easing restrictions on some nonessential business and activity May 1-15. Cinemas, theatres, sports facilities with no contact sports, gymnasiums, and swimming pools will be allowed to open 0500-1900 Monday to Friday. Barbers, beauty salons, autoparts businesses, and parking lots will be allowed to open 0500-1900 Saturday-Sunday. Businesses and facilities may only operate with reduced capacity, by appointment only where relevant, and under strict social distancing and sanitary protocols. Officials will review these measures May 11.

Other existing restrictive measures will remain in effect in Costa Rica through May 15, including the continued closure of other nonessential businesses, activities, and facilities, such as bars and beaches. Persons who can telecommute must continue to do so. Officials are also maintaining restrictions on vehicular travel since April 13. The order excludes taxis, cargo vehicles, and essential services. No private vehicles are allowed to be driven 1900-0500 Monday-Sunday. Other restrictions remain in place 0500-1900, as follows:

  • Mondays: Vehicles with license plates ending in 1 and 2 may not be driven.
  • Tuesdays: Vehicles with license plates ending in 3 and 4 may not be driven.
  • Wednesdays: Vehicles with license plates ending in 5 and 6 may not be driven.
  • Thursdays: Vehicles with license plates ending in 7 and 8 may not be driven.
  • Fridays: Vehicles with license plates ending in 9 and 0 may not be driven.
  • Saturdays: No vehicles may be driven 0500 to 1900 except to transport people to essential businesses such as supermarkets or pharmacies. Vehicles with license plates ending in 0, 2, 4, 6, and 8 may not be driven for any reason.
  • Sundays: No vehicles may be driven 0500 to 1900 except to transport people to essential businesses such as supermarkets or pharmacies. Vehicles with license plates ending in 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 may not be driven for any reason.


The closure of all land, sea, and air ports of entry will also continue through at least May 15. Citizens and legal residents will still be allowed to enter but will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival. Foreign nationals residing in Costa Rica will lose their legal resident status if they leave the country and officials will prohibit them from reentering until at least May 15. The border closure does not apply to cargo and goods transportation and humanitarian transit.

The measures in place will significantly impact business and transport in the country. Authorities will likely keep an increased police presence deployed to enforce the restrictions. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice.

Background and Analysis
The relaxation of some measures is likely to accelerate in the coming weeks; however, officials may reimpose restrictions or extend them further should the number of COVID-19 cases increase. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. 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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