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Costa Rican government details new Covid measures

The Costa Rican government on Thursday announced new measures meant to slow a record increase in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.

We detailed these changes yesterday. Below is the Presidency’s full press release of the new restrictions:


Faced with the critical national emergency situation facing the country, the Government of the Republic took the decision to carry out a closure of commercial establishments, except for the list of exceptions of essential establishments, from Monday, May 3 to Sunday, May 9 in the cantons of the Central Region.

These establishments may operate in the non-face-to-face modality of public through home or self-service service. Premises in the rest of the country will not be affected by closures.

In addition, the vehicle restriction by license plates during the week throughout the month of May will be applied in the cantons of the Central Region in the hours of 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. This will not affect the other regions of the country.

The contagion data of this region, composed of 45 cantons, represent 68% of the cases reported the previous week (6285 out of 9120), demonstrating the need to take urgent measures to flatten the contagion curve.

This was announced by the Minister of Health, Daniel Salas; the Deputy Minister of Public Security, Eduardo Solano; the executive president of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund, Román Macaya; and the president of the CNE, Alexander Solís, at a press conference.

The Minister of Health was emphatic in saying that for the whole country, establishments that do not comply with health protocols will have their licenses suspended for 15 days, and that in the case of repeat offenders, the closure will be 30 days.

Cantons of the Central Region where measures apply:

Province canton
San José San José, Escazú, Desamparados, Aserrí, Mora, Goicoechea, Santa Ana, Alajuelita, Vásquez de Coronado, Tibás, Moravia, Montes de Oca, Curridabat, Puriscal, Tarrazú, Acosta, Turrubares, Dota and León Cortés.
Alajuela Alajuela, Poás, Athens, Greece, Sarchí, Palmares, Naranjo, San Ramón and Alfaro Ruiz.
Carthage Carthage, Paradise, La Unión, Alvarado, Oreamuno, Jiménez, Turrialba and El Guarco.
Heredia Heredia, Barva, Santo Domingo, Santa Bárbara, San Rafael, San Isidro, Belén, Flores and San Pablo.

Regulation of establishments:

  • Essential services that can operate, with a schedule from 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. in the aforementioned cantons are:
Supermarkets Suppliers Delivery service
Pharmacies Bakeries Agricultural supplies
Medical centers Butchers Veterinarians and hygiene
Pulperías Vegetables Banks
Funeral homes Hotels Farmer’s markets

Likewise, all productive activities and industries can continue to function with the respective compliance with health protocols.

  • It is important to clarify that businesses can operate under the non-face-to-face modality. This includes home delivery, take-out or self-service.
  • All other establishments that do not provide face-to-face attention to the public can also operate.
  • The following may not operate: Shops in general, department stores, beauty salons, barbershops and beauty salons, churches, gyms, among others.

For the full list visit the website The rest of establishments and activities outside the Central Region may operate according to the established rules.

Salas recalled that all public institutions in the country must maximize teleworking measures.

Vehicle restriction:

From this Monday, May 3 and until Monday, May 31, the sanitary vehicle restriction during the week will apply, not only to downtown San José, but also to all cantons of the Central Region.

This is why from 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., except for the list of exceptions, these plates cannot circulate:

Monday 1 and 2
Tuesday 3 and 4
Wednesday 5 and 6
Thursday 7 and 8
Friday 9 and 0
Saturday 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 (odd)
Sunday 0, 2, 4, 6 and 8 (even)

*The driving rules in cantons outside the Central Region will remain unchanged.

Public transport (buses and trains) will be able to function normally — without standing-room passengers — and taxis and special services for workers, tourism and students are kept enabled.

The list of exceptions in force for movement will apply and drivers must present some document that proves the reason for their circulation; otherwise they are exposed to the application of a fine.

Legal reform against clandestine activities

Finally, Minister Salas announced that a reform to the General Health Law will be presented shortly to be able to reinforce the actions of the Ministry of Health and the operations of the National Police allowing to:

  1. Improve the supervision of compliance with health protocols, through an expedited procedure in declared national emergency situations.
  2. Empowerment of the National Police to individually or jointly with the Ministry of Health, request warrants from the judicial authority for the verification of health protocols.
  3. Decrease in the judicial authority’s time to issue the search warrant, from 24 hours to a period of up to 12 hours.

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