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Costa Rica to lengthen nighttime driving restrictions

In response to the spike in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, Costa Rica as of next week will apply a lengthier nighttime driving ban.

Starting Tuesday, April 27, the nationwide nighttime driving restriction will begin at 9 p.m. each night until 5 a.m. the following morning. This is two hours earlier than the current start time of 11 p.m.

The expanded nighttime rules will last until at least Sunday, May 16.

During those dates, most businesses must also close at 9 p.m.

“This action seeks to reduce the mobility of the population, slowing the increase in contagion without closures of establishments,” the Presidency said in a statement.

While the government is not mandating any new business closures, authorities said they will increase vigilance to ensure compliance with capacity and mask protocols.

“We are facing a situation that calls us to redouble protection measures to contain above all the curve of cases that continues to grow,” said President Carlos Alvarado. “We continue with the vaccination campaign, which strengthens the actions we carry out in the face of Covid-19.

“Despite this, we must take care of ourselves and not lower our guard to avoid a collapse in the hospitalization that is at its limit today.”

Earlier this month, Costa Rica also restarted its weekend daytime driving restrictions:

  • On Saturdays, only vehicles with license plates ending in even numbers (0, 2, 4, 6, 8) can circulate.
  • On Sundays, only vehicles with license plates ending in odd numbers (1, 3, 5, 7, 9) can circulate.

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. The official list of exceptions can be found here.

Costa Rica first established national driving restrictions in April 2020 to reduce non-essential travel and the spread of the coronavirus.

While easing most other measures, Costa Rica had eliminated national daytime restrictions in March 2021, but an increase in cases, hospitalizations and deaths over recent weeks led the government to reconsider.

The official site for driving restrictions and other coronavirus measures in Costa Rica is:

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