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Costa Rica returns to its ‘Open Phase.’ Here’s what’s open [August 22-30]

August 22, 2020

As planned, Costa Rica has eased coronavirus restrictions starting Saturday, August 22.

The following measures will apply through Sunday, August 30. Next week, Costa Rican authorities will announce measures for August 31 and into September.

The Costa Rican Presidency has created this Spanish-language site with official documentation of the August restrictions.

Most commercial establishments can open

From August 22-30, most establishments with sanitary permits (e.g. commercial businesses) are allowed to operate nationwide.

This means restaurants, stores, hotels, banks, supermarkets, mechanics, etc. are all authorized to open, anywhere in the country. Remember that — except for when eating or in a private room — Costa Rica mandates the wearing of face covering when indoors at commercial establishments.

The following activities and businesses still cannot operate: Concerts, public spectacles, fairs (except farmer’s markets), sporting events (with some exceptions), expos, conference centers, skate parks and children’s games, amusement parks, bars, nightclubs, casinos.

Standardized vehicular restrictions

Driving is permitted nationwide from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends.

  • 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 current restrictions mean people can transit freely in a private vehicle between Orange and Yellow Alert areas. Remember there are stricter driving hours near Costa Rica’s borders.

Exceptions for vehicular restrictions

Tourists are largely exempted from the vehicular restrictions, as detailed by the government here:

  • Private companies accredited to transport tourists are exempt.
  • Rental cars are exempt.
  • People driving to/from a hotel (with a copy of the reservation) are exempt.
  • People driving to/from the airport are exempt.

In addition, people can drive to/from medical centers, either in an emergency or with proof of a scheduled appointment. Note that the hotel exemption does not apply to AirBnB properties unless the location has an operating permit from the Health Ministry.

Cantons in an Orange Alert

While the distinction between Orange and Yellow Alert areas matters less during the “Open Phase,” here is a list of cantons currently under an Orange Alert:

List of Costa Rica Orange Alert cantons on August 20, 2020
List of Costa Rica Orange Alert cantons on August 20, 2020. via CNE.

Click here for an interactive map of Orange/Yellow Alert cantons in Costa Rica.

 

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