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News briefs: Protests to continue against Costa Rica coronavirus measures

August 3, 2020

The coronavirus crisis has transformed life in Costa Rica, which has enacted measures to protect the capacity of its health system.

Here’s what you should know as a new day starts in Costa Rica:

Protests to continue in Zapote today

The Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Business Associations (FedeCÁMARAS) says protests will continue against Costa Rica’s coronavirus-related business restrictions.

In a video posted to social media, Antonio López Escarré, the executive director of the organization, indicated that the protests will convene at Casa Presidencial starting at 10 a.m.

“Let’s be with our vehicles in a peaceful caravan, with all the protocols that apply — face coverings, face shields — and we want to tell the government that the private companies want to work with the corresponding health measures,” he said.

Costa Rica is currently in an “Open Phase” during which most commercial businesses can operate nationwide. But in mid-August it will then switch to a “Closed Phase,” when most commercial businesses in Orange Alert areas must close.

The upcoming Closed Phase is meant to allow health authorities to identify and mitigate new outbreaks.

Costa Rica began enacting coronavirus measures in mid-March, though the most impactful restrictions on businesses were established starting in early April, corresponding with Semana Santa (Easter Holy Week).

Costa Rica attributes 146 deaths to COVID-19 since July 1, and hospitalizations reached a new high on Sunday.

Mass gatherings suspended through 2020

There will officially be no mass-gathering events in Costa Rica until at least 2021.

According to guidelines published by the Health Ministry, the following events remain suspended through the end of 2020: Concerts, festivals, public spectacles, fairgrounds, bullfighting activities, topes and commercial expos, among others.

Even a planned return in 2021 would be gradual. While the current guidelines would allow mass gatherings at 50% capacity in January, it wouldn’t be until March 2021 that these events could welcome full crowds.

“No activity may be rescheduled before January 2021,” the Health Ministry document reads. “After that month, rescheduling will be done under strict regulations of gradual and progressive capacity.”

First commercial flight arrives tonight

The first commercial flight to enter Costa Rica since mid-March is scheduled to arrive Monday night.

Iberia 6317 has departed Barajas International Airport in Madrid and is expected in Costa Rica at 7:20 p.m., according to aviation-tracking website FlightAware.

The Airbus A330-200 can carry 288 passengers.

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