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Costa Rica announces new restrictions for New Year’s and January 2021

December 23, 2020

The National Emergency Commission (CNE) on Wednesday announced a series of national coronavirus restrictions that will begin on December 31.

The new measures come as the country’s public-health system is strained by the coronavirus. As of Wednesday, Costa Rica has reported 2,065 COVID-19-related deaths with 634 people hospitalized, 239 of them in intensive care.

The restrictions are as follows:

New Year’s Eve (December 31)

There will be a national vehicular restriction from 7 p.m. on December 31 until 5 a.m. on January 1. The typical list of exceptions, which includes rental vehicles, still applies, and public transportation can operate normally.

Commercial businesses must also close at 7 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, except for those deemed essential (supermarkets, medical centers, delivery services, and hotels, among others).

January 1, 2 and 3

There will be a national vehicular restriction from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. on these days. The typical list of exceptions, which includes rental vehicles, still applies, and public transportation can operate normally.

Commercial businesses must also close at 8 p.m. on January 1-3, except for those deemed essential (supermarkets, medical centers, delivery services, and hotels, among others).

Measures for the rest of January

From January 4-17, there will be stricter measures for some activities:

  • Beaches will be open only from 5 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.
  • Bars and casinos must limit capacity to 25%.
  • National Parks must limit capacity to 50%.

A slightly stricter vehicular restriction will apply from January 4-31 as follows:

  • Monday to Friday: The nighttime vehicular restriction will remain from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m.
  • Saturdays and Sundays: The nighttime vehicular restriction will be from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. In addition:
    • Saturdays: Vehicles with license plates ending in 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 cannot drive.
    • Sundays: Vehicles with license plates ending in 0, 2, 4, 6, 8 cannot drive.

The typical list of exceptions, which includes rental vehicles, still applies, and public transportation can operate normally.

If you believe you have COVID-19, contact Costa Rica’s hotline at 1322. English-speaking staff and mental health professionals are available. Visit the Costa Rican Presidency for the official list of coronavirus measures and alerts. 

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