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Costa Rica eases some coronavirus restrictions for Orange Alert areas

August 8, 2020

Costa Rica’s National Emergency Commission on Saturday announced changes to the coronavirus-related restrictions.

The changes include tweaks to the national vehicular restrictions and allow for more businesses to remain open in Orange Alert areas.

Below are the details:

Businesses can remain open during ‘Closed Phase’

More businesses in Orange Alert areas can remain open during this month’s “Closed Phase,” which runs from August 10-21.

From Monday to Friday, the following additional commercial businesses can remain open with capacity limits:

  • Supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores and mini-supermarkets can sell all products in their inventory. (Previously, they were restricted to selling only essential items during the Closed Phase.)
  • Restaurants, sodas, coffee shops and food courts. Businesses with a bar and restaurant license will only be allowed to operate the restaurant area.
  • Stores in general, as well as department stores.
  • Barber shops and beauty salons. Prior appointments are required.

Remember, the Closed Phase does not impact businesses located in Yellow Alert areas.

Adjustments to national driving restrictions

The following changes to the vehicular restrictions apply starting Monday, August 10:

  • Allowed driving hours will be unified nationwide:
    • Monday-Friday: 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
    • Saturday-Sunday: 5 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Otherwise, the same restrictions based on the last digit of a vehicle’s license plate apply.

For Orange Alert cantons during the Closed Phase (August 10-21):

  • Mondays: Only vehicles with license plates ending in 1 and 2 can drive.
  • Tuesdays: Only vehicles with license plates ending in 3 and 4 can drive.
  • Wednesdays: Only vehicles with license plates ending in 5 and 6 can drive.
  • Thursdays: Only vehicles with license plates ending in 7 and 8 can drive.
  • Fridays: Only vehicles with license plates ending in 9 and 0 can drive.
  • Saturdays: Vehicles with license plates ending in odd numbers can drive.
  • Sundays: Vehicles with license plates ending in even numbers can drive.

For Yellow Alert cantons throughout all of August, and for Orange Alert cantons during the Open Phase (August 22-30):

  • Mondays: Vehicles with license plates ending in 1 and 2 cannot drive. Vehicles with license plates ending in all other numbers can transit freely.
  • Tuesdays: Vehicles with license plates ending in 3 and 4 cannot drive. Vehicles with license plates ending in all other numbers can transit freely.
  • Wednesdays: Vehicles with license plates ending in 5 and 6 cannot drive. Vehicles with license plates ending in all other numbers can transit freely.
  • Thursdays: Vehicles with license plates ending in 7 and 8 cannot drive. Vehicles with license plates ending in all other numbers can transit freely.
  • Fridays: Vehicles with license plates ending in 9 and 0 cannot drive. Vehicles with license plates ending in all other numbers can transit freely.
  • Saturdays: Vehicles with license plates ending in even numbers cannot drive.
  • Sundays: Vehicles with license plates ending in odd numbers cannot drive.

The CNE has designed the restrictions to discourage transit between Orange and Yellow Alert cantons during the closed phase. However, some major throughways are excepted.

“The important thing is that we try, as much as possible, to avoid unnecessary movement to other cantons,” said CNE president Alexander Solís.

As always, you can double-check the rules at La Restricción and review the list of exceptions on the official government website.

Cantons in an Orange Alert

The following cantons remain under an Orange Alert as of August 5, 2020. All others will be under a Yellow Alert and abide by the more lenient restrictions.

  • San José: Alajuelita, Aserrí, Curridabat, Desamparados (except the districts of Frailes and San Cristóbal), Escazú, Goicoechea, Montes de Oca, Moravia, San José, Santa Ana, Tibás, Vázquez de Coronado.
  • Puntarenas: Corredores, Coto Brus (districts of Agua Buena and Sabalito), Golfito (district of Pavón), Puntarenas (districts of Barranca and Chacarita).
  • Heredia: Barva, Flores, Heredia, San Isidro, San Pablo, Santo Domingo.
  • Alajuela: Alajuela (except the district of Sarapiquí), Naranjo.
  • Cartago: La Unión.
  • Guanacaste: No cantons under Orange Alerts. 
  • Limón: No cantons under Orange Alerts. 

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