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Costa Rica preparing economic support in response to coronavirus

March 14, 2020

President Carlos Alvarado said Costa Rica is preparing a series of economic measures to protect jobs and businesses during the downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

In a speech delivered Saturday afternoon, President Alvarado discussed five areas in which Costa Rican institutions will support businesses and consumers over the coming months.

“Due to coronavirus, economic activity is decreasing in inter-country trade and in sectors such as tourism, commerce, events and food, among others,” Alvarado said. “We need to generate measures to compensate for that in order to not lose jobs and not lose businesses.”

While more details will be revealed in the coming days, Alvarado previewed the following objectives:

  1. Insurance and Social Security: President Alvarado will meet Monday with the Social Security System (Caja) to establish guidelines alleviating payments into insurance and social security.
  2. Loans and credit: The government has prepared a proposal that would allow people and businesses with loans to defer payments without additional interest or penalties.
  3. Taxes: The president’s economic team will present a law project that would allow businesses to temporarily defer taxes without paying additional interest or penalties.
  4. INS products: The National Insurance Institute will announce next week at least three new products, including one tailored to the tourism sector.
  5. Price regulations: Costa Rica will regulate the price of certain sanitary products to prevent price gouging.

President Alvarado said he has asked the Legislative Assembly to prioritize issues related to revitalizing Costa Rica’s economy.

Costa Rica has 27 confirmed cases of coronavirus. Four people are hospitalized due to the virus — including a 54-year-old Costa Rican man in serious and deteriorating condition.

The National Tourism Chamber (CANATUR) says COVID-19 has caused “strong effects in terms of cancellations, requests to change itineraries and a decrease in future reservations.”

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, Costa Rica was on unstable financial ground. Moody’s says the country’s fiscal deficit and debts will “pose recurrent financing challenges.”

We’ll provide updates when Casa Presidencial releases more details regarding the economic measures. 

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