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News briefs (or no briefs): The latest news from Costa Rica

March 30, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted daily life in Costa Rica, which has declared a State of Emergency and enacted sweeping measures to slow its spread.

Here’s what you need to know today:

U.S. Embassy gauging flight interest

The U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica is gauging interest from U.S. citizens who may require a repatriation flight home.

Most airlines have suspended service to Costa Rica, and Delta Airlines’ last confirmed flight until May 2 is today. The U.S. Embassy has been told that flight is full.

“The Embassy is working with airlines to gauge demand for either additional commercial flights or U.S. government-organized flights if no commercial flights are available,” it said in an alert to citizens.

If you are a U.S. citizen interested in being added to a list for any potential U.S. government-organized flight, the Embassy asks that you submit this online form. If you are unable to complete the online form, citizens should email ACSSanJose@state.gov.

Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) in Alajuela maintains a list of airlines and their scheduled service on their website.

More than 1,700 people ticketed for violating driving restriction

More than 1,700 people have been ticketed for violating Costa Rica’s nationwide nighttime vehicle restriction, according to the Public Security Ministry (MSP).

More than 600 people were fined on Saturday night alone, while MSP ticketed 331 others Sunday night.

The vehicle restriction, meant to curb nonessential driving, was first enforced the night of March 24. It bans the majority of vehicles — night workers and essential services are among the exceptions — during the following hours:

  • Monday night through Thursday night: From 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. the following day.
  • Friday night through Sunday night: From 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. the following day.

MSP is supporting a law project that would increase the fine from $40 to about $180.

Naked man arrested at Costa Rica airport

Here’s an odd story from Monday afternoon: Costa Rican authorities detained a man who had trespassed onto the ramp at Juan Santamaría International Airport … and was fully naked.

The man, surnamed Ávila, had climbed the perimeter fence and was roaming the tarmac of Costa Rica’s busiest airport when he was stopped.

The man was taken to the Red Cross for a medical evaluation, and airport police said they were coordinating with the Alajuela Prosecutor’s Office to pursue charges.

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