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Disappointing weekend for Costa Rican businesses, despite holiday

August 17, 2020

Despite the long holiday weekend, coronavirus-related restrictions led to “absolutely non-existent” sales at many local businesses, the Costa Rican Chamber of Commerce said.

In Orange Alert zones, which includes much of the Greater Metropolitan Area, most non-essential businesses were obligated to close Saturday — Mother’s Day — and Sunday.

“Commerce in stores considered non-essential was completely closed this weekend, except for those stores that have managed to develop digital platforms,” said Allan Gerli, director of the Chamber of Commerce.

While Costa Rican health authorities have allowed stores to open on weekdays during the ongoing Closed Phase, the measures still called for near-total closure of non-essential services on the weekend.

That meant restaurants — which typically experience among their busiest day of the year on Mother’s Day — were relegated to offering takeout or delivery only.

“We are very concerned about the effect of these closures on restaurants, since they have a negative effect of 50% to 75% of their sales,” Gerli said, encouraging Costa Ricans to order takeout or delivery via digital platforms or directly from the restaurant.

Costa Rica observed Mother’s Day with a day off on Monday. It’s part of an effort from the government to stimulate local tourism by creating more long weekends.

But for businesses in Orange Alert areas, the impact was near-imperceptible due to the restrictions.

“The movement of buyers for August 15 and 16 was absolutely non-existent,” Gerli said.

Unemployment in Costa Rica reached 24% in the April-June quarter, the highest on record, according to the latest data from the National Institute of Statistics and Census.

Costa Rica coronavirus updates for August 17

Costa Rica announced 10 new coronavirus-related deaths over the past day for a total of 304, according to official data released Monday afternoon by the Health Ministry.

Three-hundred and ninety-seven people are hospitalized with COVID-19; 106 are in intensive care.

The Health Ministry confirmed 619 new cases over the past 24 hours for a cumulative total of 29,084.

Of the new cases, 581 people resulted positive via a PCR test over the past 24 hours, while 38 were identified without a test.

Monday, 171 more people were classified by health authorities as recovered. Costa Rica has 19,547 known active cases and 9,233 recoveries.

The data indicate Costa Rica has 5.95 COVID-19-related deaths per 100,000 people.

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