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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Costa Rica vaccine QR code suspended: Next steps by Thursday

The Costa Rican government on Monday confirmed that a court has suspended implementation of a QR code-based Covid-19 vaccine passport.

“Monday afternoon, notification of the precautionary measure … was received at the Attorney General’s Office, in response to the action filed by four public limited companies against the resolution of the Ministry of Health,” the Presidency said in a statement.

The Attorney General’s Office requested that “a report be issued and provided with documentation and information related to the implementation of the QR code.” That report should be issued within three working days — by Thursday, November 18 — at which point the suspension can be extended or lifted.

“The aforementioned entities are already preparing the elements required by the Attorney General’s Office,” the Presidency said.

In the meantime, the Health Ministry will continue processing and issuing QR codes to citizens and residents, which the Presidency says does not violate the court order.

If implemented as planned by the Health Ministry, Costa Rica’s “vaccine passport” system would work as follows:

  • Starting December 1, most businesses across Costa Rica would be allowed to operate at 100% capacity if they verified the Covid-19 vaccination status of all customers.
  • Starting January 8, most businesses would be required to ensure that all adult customers were vaccinated against Covid-19.

Proof of vaccination for citizens and residents would be demonstrated via a QR Code distributed through the Health Ministry. Foreign visitors would also be subject to the vaccine requirement, which has led to pushback from the Tourism Chamber (CANATUR).

However, the implementation of that vaccination requirement now remains in flux due to a Costa Rican court, which issued the suspension following a challenge from representatives of the tourism sector.

The Presidency on Monday said it remains in favor of requiring Covid-19 vaccines at businesses as a measure to safeguard population health.

“The government reiterates the importance of checking the state of vaccination against Covid-19 as a measure that allows greater openness to commercial, business, cultural, sports and other activities, hand in hand with the protection of public health, which is fundamental in the context of a pandemic that has caused about 7,200 deaths in the country,” the Presidency’s statement reads.

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