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Costa Rica evaluates removing weekend driving restrictions

Costa Rica may end its weekend daytime driving restrictions starting in March.

Health Minister Daniel Salas said in an interview with Teletica that Costa Rica’s encouraging coronavirus trends have led authorities to consider lifting more restrictions, including the driving measure.

If the downward trend continues, Salas said, even and odd plates would be allowed to circulate during the daytime on both Saturdays and Sundays in March.

The current rules are meant to discourage non-essential gatherings. However, several sectors have asked the Health Ministry to eliminate the weekend restrictions, saying they are hurting small businesses and contributing to high unemployment.

Costa Rica’s driving restrictions for February are as follows:

  • On Saturdays (5 a.m. to 10 p.m.): Vehicles with license plates ending in ODD numbers cannot drive nationwide.
  • On Sundays: Vehicles with license plates ending in EVEN numbers (including zero) cannot drive nationwide.
  • At nighttime (10 p.m. to 5 a.m.): A nationwide nighttime restriction continues to be enforced.

There are additional weekday rules in downtown San José only. These have existed for several years as a method of reducing road congestion in the capital.

The typical list of exceptions — which includes rental vehicles, people driving to/from a hotel reservation, and people driving to/from the airport — continues to apply to the current restrictions. The official list of exceptions can be found here.

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