Costa Rica has closed its protected wildlife areas and all 29 of its national parks effective immediately, the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) announced Friday afternoon.
They will remain closed to visitors until April 13 at the earliest.
“In order to intensify measures against COVID-19, the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) and the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) announce that as of this moment all the Protected Wildlife Areas (ASP) and the National Parks of the country will be closed to tourist visitation,” the agency announced.
On Tuesday, SINAC had announced that national parks would close beginning on Monday, March 23. But since then, Costa Rica has more than doubled its known coronavirus cases and recorded its first two deaths related to the pandemic.
Park rangers will continue to monitor national parks and protected wildlife areas, and national police will focus this weekend on enforcing the guidelines established by health authorities.
Costa Rica has tentatively established April 13 as the day it could lift travel restrictions, reopen national parks and schools. However, the Health Ministry says that date is subject to change based on COVID-19’s ongoing impact on Costa Rica.
Municipalities across Costa Rica began closing beaches and public spaces until further notice in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Jacó and Manuel Antonio, two of Costa Rica’s most popular Pacific coast beaches, are among those that have been shut down.