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Costa Rica announces few new restrictions in face of saturated hospitals

May 10, 2021

Costa Rica on Monday announced new measures to address the saturation of its public health system due to Covid-19.

Commercial businesses will still be allowed to operate from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. throughout Costa Rica. However, the maximum permitted capacity of the following activities has been reduced nationwide:

  • Academic and work events from 300 to 150 people.
  • Social events from 75 to 30 people.
  • Religious events from 300 to 200 people.
  • Bars to 25% capacity.
  • Hotels that sleep more than 100 people to 75% capacity.
  • National parks to 50% capacity (except for Poas Volcano).
  • Public transport cannot take standing passengers.

A nationwide daytime vehicular restriction will be applied as follows starting Tuesday through May 31:

  • 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.
  • 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. This includes those driving to/from the airport, to/from a hotel reservation, to/from work, and rental cars.

No changes were made to entry requirements for tourists.

The Social Security System (CCSS), which runs public hospitals, says national ICU capacity has been saturated by Covid-19 patients. This has impacted care for coronavirus patients and those with other pathologies.

During their Monday press conference, Economy Minister Victoria Hernandez said the new measures were taken with an eye toward reducing virus spread while having a minimal economic impact.

Costa Rica buys more vaccines

Costa Rica has bought 2 million addition doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine. With the purchase, the country will sum about 9 million doses be the end of the year — enough for 4.5 million people.

These new doses will begin to arrive in July and will be delivered by the end of 2021.

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