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Costa Rica’s airports prepare health measures for return of international travel

Costa Rica’s airports are preparing for the return of international travel — whenever that may be.

In an interview with the daily La Nación, Juan Belliard, director of airport operator Aeris, detailed the measures that Juan Santamaría International Airport near San José has planned in conjunction with the Civil Aviation Administration (DGAC).

The proposed measures, which must be formally approved by the Health Ministry, include the following:

  • Everyone who enters the airport will be obligated to wear a face mask.
  • Only traveling passengers will be allowed to enter the airport, and they must pass a temperature check at the entrance.
  • Disinfecting carpets will be installed at the airport entrances.
  • Clear barriers will separate passengers from the ticket counters.
  • Boarding will be conducted in small groups, from the back of the plane to the front.
  • Markers will encourage proper distancing in all areas where agglomerations typically form, including at security and baggage claim.

Arriving passengers would be required to present a epidemiological form created by the Health Ministry. The form — which can be completed online and scanned via a QR code — will help the Health Ministry with contact tracing in the event of a coronavirus outbreak.

In addition, the plan calls for medical personnel to take the temperatures of all arriving passengers. Those presenting with a fever will receive additional on-site screening, though Belliard told El Financiero that coronavirus testing wouldn’t happen at the airport.

Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport would adopt similar measures, according to the report.

Airport officials acknowledged that passengers should plan to spend more time at the airport while these measures remain active.

Borders remain closed to tourists

Costa Rica’s borders remain closed to arriving tourists through June 30, though that date may be extended.

Despite the travel restrictions, United Airlines has operated several flights between the U.S. and Costa Rica. Spirit Airlines will also operate two rescue flights in late June, according to Aeris, and on Thursday citizens of the United Kingdom will be repatriated.

Juan Santamaría International Airport lists the following tentative schedule for airlines to resume service to SJO:

  • Air Canada at an unspecified date in July.
  • American Airlines on July 7 to Miami and Dallas.
  • Delta Air Lines on July 2 to Atlanta.
  • JetBlue Airways on July 1 to Orlando and Fort Lauderdale.
  • Southwest Airlines in 2021.
  • Spirit Airlines on July 5 to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando. Rescue flights to Fort Lauderdale on June 24 and 29.
  • United Airlines is continuing its Houston/SJO route through at least the end of June.

Dates are subject to change (and are likely to do so if Costa Rica extends its border restrictions).

All other airlines have either indefinitely suspended service to Costa Rica or have yet to inform the airport when they will resume flights.

The Health Ministry has said that all arriving international flights during the coronavirus crisis should utilize Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) rather than Liberia International Airport (LIR).

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