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Costa Rica announces new closures, driving restrictions for early May

April 29, 2021

Costa Rica on Thursday announced new business and driving restrictions in its populous Central Region that are meant to reduce Covid-19 contagion at a time when hospital capacity has been saturated in much of the country.

From May 3 through May 9, most non-essential businesses in the Central Region must remain closed. Businesses outside of that area are not affected by this measure.

Then, from May 3-31, circulation in the Central Region will be controlled by a weekday vehicular restriction.

The cantons included in the Central Region are as follows:

  • San José province: Acosta, Alajuelita, Aserrí, Curridabat, Desamparados, Dota, Escazú, Goicochea, León Cortés, Montes de Oca, Mora, Moravia, Puriscal, San José, Santa Ana, Tarrazú, Tibás, Turrubares, Vazquez de Coronado.
  • Alajuela: Alajuela, Alfaro Ruiz, Atenas, Grecia, Naranjo, Palmarés, Poás, San Ramón, Sarchí.
  • Cartago: Alvarado, Cartago, El Guarco, Jiménez, La Unión, Oreamuno, Turrialba, Paraíso.
  • Heredia: Barva, Belén, Flores, Heredia, San Isidro, San Pablo, San Rafael, Santa Bárbara, Santo Domingo.

Exceptions to the May 3-9 business closures include: supermarkets, pharmacies, medical centers, grocery stores, caterers, bakeries, butchers, greengrocers, home delivery, agricultural, veterinary and hygiene supplies, banks, funeral homes, hotels and farmer’s markets.

In-person teaching will remain unaffected nationwide, though the Health Ministry said the possibility will remain under consideration.

The nighttime driving ban remains from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. The weekday driving restrictions in the Central Region for May 3-31 are as follows:

  • Monday: Vehicles with plates ending in 1 and 2 cannot circulate.
  • Tuesday: Vehicles with plates ending in 3 and 4 cannot circulate.
  • Wednesday: Vehicles with plates ending in 5 and 6 cannot circulate.
  • Thursday: Vehicles with plates ending in 7 and 8 cannot circulate.
  • Friday: Vehicles with plates ending in 9 and 0 cannot circulate.

The nationwide weekend daytime (5 a.m. to 9 p.m.) restrictions will continue in May:

  • Saturday: Vehicles with plates ending in odd numbers cannot circulate.
  • Sunday: Vehicles with plates ending in even numbers (including 0) cannot circulate.

The standard list of exceptions to the driving restrictions will continue to apply.

Costa Rica on Thursday reported 2,781 new coronavirus cases — a record for the second-straight day — and 15 more deaths. Many public hospitals are now maintaining wait lists for ICU beds.

“We are in a situation without precedent,” said Health Minister Daniel Salas.

Costa Rica’s public-health system has up to 393 ICU beds available for Covid-19 patients.

This story is being updated. 

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