Costa Rica is proceeding with its third phase of economic reopening, authorities said Friday, further easing restrictions that were meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The following “Phase 3” guidelines apply as of Saturday, June 27:
- Beaches can now remain open from 5 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., including on the weekends. Previously, beaches could only remain open between 5-8 a.m., and only on weekdays.
- Stores, museums and theaters can now open on the weekend. Capacity is limited to 50%, and prior ticket purchase may be required for the latter two.
- Churches and other religious establishments can hold services of up to 75 people. Social distancing must be observed, and guests should not sing, as that can spread the coronavirus.
Excluded from “Phase 3” are all areas under an Orange Alert — which have strict evening business and driving restrictions — in addition to the following locations which remain in “Phase 2”:
- Ulloa (Heredia), La Uruca, La Merced, Hospital, Hatillo, Mata Redonda, Catedral, Zapote, San Rafael de Escazú, Curridabat, San Francisco de Dos Ríos, San Sebastián, Aserrí, San Gabriel, Corralillo (Cartago).
The National Emergency Commission (CNE) will also lift the orange alert in some specific areas as follows. (The below takes effect Saturday, June 27):
- In the canton of Upala, the districts of Dos Ríos, Aguas Claras and Bijagua are under a yellow alert. The districts of Upala, San José (Pizote), Delicias, Yolillal and Canalete remain under an orange alert.
- In the canton of San Carlos, the northeast area of La Fortuna is under a yellow alert (La Fortuna center, Zeta trece, Barrio Manolo, Barrio Pilo, Barrio Pastoral, Barrio Olivo, Barrio Dora, La Guaria, Catarata, Jaurí 1 and 2, La Palma, Tabacón and El Castillo). The orange alert remains for the southeast sector of La Fortuna (Tres Esquinas, Los Ángeles, Sonafluca, La Perla, San Isidro, El Tanque, San Jorge and Santa Cecilia).
- In the canton of Pococí, the districts of Guápiles Centro, Jiménez and La Colonia are under yellow alert. The orange alert remains for Cariari, Colorado, La Rita and Roxana.
- In the canton of Desamparados, the districts of Frailes, Damas, San Cristobal, Rosario, San Antonio and Gravilias are under yellow alert. Orange alert remains for Desamparados center, Patarrá, Los Guido, San Miguel, San Rafael Abajo, San Rafael Arriba and San Juan de Dios.
The country’s national vehicular restrictions remain unchanged.
Starting Saturday, June 27, masks or face shields will be required in many public situations. These can be homemade or medical-grade.
Masks are required as follows:
- For any worker attending to the public (e.g. waiters, bank tellers, drivers of paid public transport). If a business has a physical barrier made of glass, acrylics or polyethylenes installed between the worker and the public, face coverings are not required.
- For clients and drivers of paid public transport (e.g. buses, taxis). Masks are recommended, but not required, at bus stops.
- For officiants and guests at religious services.
- For clients at theaters and cinemas.
- For anyone visiting a health center, prison, drug or alcohol treatment center, or centers caring for at-risk populations.
- For caretakers attending to the elderly or those with disabilities, especially at nursing homes or residential alternatives.
- For call-center workers who share cubicles.
- For customers at banks.
Masks are also recommended — but are not required — in the district of Pavas and any time physical distancing cannot be properly maintained.
Masks do not replace other health measures, including proper cough/sneeze protocol, physical distancing, and hand-washing.