The National Emergency Commission (CNE) on Tuesday announced changes to the coronavirus alert levels of several cantons. These changes take effect starting Wednesday, September 9.
The following cantons move to a Yellow Alert:
- San José province: Aserrí.
- Puntarenas province: Corredores.
- Alajuela province: Poás.
The following cantons move to an Orange Alert:
- Heredia province: Belén.
- Limón province: Limón.
- Puntarenas province: Garabito, Montes de Oro, and the district of Palmar in Osa canton.
The change in alert level is largely symbolic for the time being, since Costa Rica on Wednesday starts its “controlled open” phase for the rest of September.
From September 9 through September 30, most commercial establishments can remain open nationwide, including in Orange Alert areas. Beaches nationwide can remain open from 5 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., even in Orange Alert areas.
The Orange Alert also does not change driving restrictions in those cantons.
Health Minister Daniel Salas on Tuesday reminded the public to heed guidelines at all times, especially during the Open Phase.
“We are in a delicate situation as a country, and we must take it seriously,” Salas said.
Garabito, which contains the popular tourist city of Jacó, has 107 known active coronavirus cases as of Monday.
Click here for more information about September restrictions, and click here for an interactive map of Orange/Yellow Alert cantons in Costa Rica.
Masks required starting Wednesday
Starting Wednesday, September 9, using only a face shield will no longer be sufficient in situations where mouth and nose coverings are required.
As of that date, face shields can continue to be worn — but only if the wearer has a mask on underneath.
“Taking into account that as of September 9, we will have a greater phase of opening, the guidelines will be changed and masks will be mandatory in indoor spaces for public service,” said Health Minister Daniel Salas.
Costa Rica already obligates that the general public wear face masks or shields in nearly all indoor situations. Exceptions include while eating at restaurants, in private dwellings, for infants and for people with certain disabilities.
Masks reinforce existing physical-distancing practices; wearers should still respect their social bubble and wash their hands frequently.