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Costa Rica will announce airport reopening details this week

Costa Rica will announce details of its August airport reopening later this week, Health Minister Daniel Salas said.

“We are going to maintain the August 1 date,” Health Minister Daniel Salas said Monday, indicating again that the process will be gradual and won’t include reopening Costa Rica’s land borders with Panama and Nicaragua.

“This week, we must indicate the countries, states or places to which we will give authorization,” Salas added, saying that “it wouldn’t make much sense” to welcome visitors from areas with a “complete lack of control of the virus, where the number of cases is very extensive.”

While Salas has referenced an August 1 date for reopening Costa Rica’s airports, the decree published in La Gaceta, the official government newspaper, establishes that the current border rules remain active until 11:59 p.m. on that date. Thus, any changes likely won’t take effect until August 2.

According to Aeris, which operates Juan Santamaría Airport, the following airlines have plans to resume operations to the San José area in August:

  • Alaska Airlines (August 3)
  • American Airlines (August 5)
  • Delta Air Lines (August 17)
  • Edelweiss (August 6)
  • Iberia (August 3)
  • Interject (August 2)
  • Lufthansa (August 1)
  • Spirit Airlines (August 2)
  • United Airlines (August 2)

These dates are subject to change. The airline information should not be interpreted as areas from which visitors will be authorized to enter Costa Rica in August.

“We are completely ready for a prompt return,” Aeris said. “We have prepared with the goal to apply health protocols under the supervision of respective authorities that guarantee the security and protection of passengers.”

Costa Rica’s borders have been closed since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic. During that time, Costa Rica has allowed only citizens and residents (with some exceptions) to enter the country.

Tourism comprises an estimated 8.2% of Costa Rica’s GDP.

Unemployment in Costa Rica has reached record highs during the coronavirus pandemic, leading to growing calls to ease restrictions.

In 2019, Costa Rica welcomed 3.1 million foreign visitors, 4.1% more than in 2018. Those tourists remained in the country for an average of 12.6 days and spent an average of $1,400, according to the Costa Rica Tourism Board.

Last year, more than 1.3 million tourists came to Costa Rica from the United States, more than any other single country by far. However, the United States has confirmed more than 3.8 million coronavirus cases and 140,600 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

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