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Costa Rica to reopen national parks as part of ‘new normal’

May 8, 2020

Costa Rica plans to reopen national parks as part of its next steps toward a new normal in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Vice President Epsy Campbell said the government will announce a roadmap Monday that “includes a sequence of safe openings.”

“First national parks and hotels, then commerce and restaurants, then international tourism and finally, mass gathering events,” Campbell explained on Twitter.

Campbell didn’t provide further information on the reopening timeline, but the Costa Rican presidency will announce details Monday in collaboration with the Health Ministry.

National parks and other wildlife areas will have to demonstrate they meet the Health Ministry’s coronavirus protocols before they can reopen. This could include limiting hours of operation and restricting the amount of daily visitors.

Costa Rica closed its protected wildlife areas and all 29 of its national parks on March 20 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The country has also closed all beaches nationwide and shuttered community gathering spaces — including city parks.

But Costa Rica began reopening some businesses this month after largely managing to control the spread of the coronavirus. The Central American nation has registered 21 consecutive day-over-day decreases in known active cases.

The Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) will begin promoting domestic tourism as part of its plan to reactivate the sector, which has been hit hard by the crisis.

The country has denied entry to foreign tourists since March 19, a measure which has been extended until at least June 15.

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