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Costa Rica tourism: What states will be allowed next?

September 7, 2020

Since September 1, Costa Rica has welcomed tourists from eight U.S. states, and three more will be added to the authorized list next week.

According to Gustavo Segura, Costa Rica’s Tourism Minister, a state’s new coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents over recent weeks is the most important consideration for allowing tourists from that state.

That explains why states like Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York were among the first ones authorized. They have the lowest new cases per 100,000 residents over the last week, according to data compiled by The New York Times.

“For us, it doesn’t matter how many cases New York had in June,” Segura told The Tico Times. “What interests us is seeing how the pandemic is evolving over the last two weeks.”

What states might be allowed next? Let’s use the data to make an educated guess.

Which U.S. states are allowed now?

As of September 1: Costa Rica allows tourists from Maryland, Virginia (and the District of Columbia), New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont and Connecticut.

As of September 15, the list will be further expanded with Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Colorado.

Segura says Costa Rica is constantly analyzing the coronavirus situation in the U.S. and elsewhere, and more authorized locations will be added every two weeks.

Click here for the requirements for arriving U.S. tourists.

Which U.S. states could come next?

Here are states that Costa Rica could authorize next, based solely on their current handling of the pandemic:

  • Oregon: 35 new cases per 100,000 people over the last week.
  • Wyoming: 37 new cases per 100,000 people over the last week.
  • New Mexico: 39 new cases per 100,000 people over the last week.
  • Washington: 43 new cases per 100,000 people over the last week.
  • Michigan: 47 new cases per 100,000 people over the last week.
  • Rhode Island: 53 new cases per 100,000 people over the last week.
  • Arizona: 56 new cases per 100,000 people over the last week.

California is also a possibility. While it’s at 85 new cases per 100,000 people over the last week, that number is nearly identical to an authorized state (Virginia, 84). And California is a state in which “new cases are lower and staying low,” per the New York Times.

For comparison, here are states that Costa Rica has already authorized for tourists:

  • Vermont: 5 new cases per 100,000 people over the last week.
  • New Jersey: 28 new cases per 100,000 people over the last week.
  • New York: 28 new cases per 100,000 people over the last week.
  • Virginia: 84 new cases per 100,000 people over the last week.

Costa Rica does consider other factors in addition to new cases per 100,000, but Segura says that is the most important metric used.

What states might not be welcomed soon?

Using the same data, here are states from which Costa Rica might not welcome residents until the pandemic situation has improved:

  • North and South Dakota: 253 and 202 new cases per 100,000 people over the last week, respectively.
  • Iowa: 178 new cases per 100,000 people over the last week.
  • Georgia: 131 new cases per 100,000 people over the last week.
  • Illinois: 130 new cases per 100,000 people over the last week.
  • Florida: 116 new cases per 100,000 people over the last week.
  • Texas: 99 new cases per 100,000 people over the last week.

Of course, Costa Rica could change its criteria for authorizing a state. Texas and Florida are among the most important states for U.S. tourism, which could factor into the decision.

What about Costa Rica itself?

Costa Rica has added 7,221 new cases over the last seven days, which calculates to 144 new cases per 100,000 people, as calculated by The New York Times.

That figure is similar to that of Oklahoma, Mississippi, Kansas and Alabama, and is part of the reason why the U.S. State Department has issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory for Costa Rica.

Costa Rica’s increase in cases and its limited hospital capacity are the reasons why it hopes to limit the amount of coronavirus cases imported by tourists.

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