Newly elected President, Rodrigo Chaves, eliminated the mandatory use of masks for the population, as well as the obligation to be vaccinated against covid-19. In addition, not being vaccinated will no longer be a cause for dismissal in the public sector. The Decree is yet to be published in “La Gaceta,” but will become effective as soon as it is.
The strict use of masks and vaccination is only enforced for front-line public health care workers. For the rest of the population, the use is voluntary, explained President Chaves.
“The decree wants to give freedom and responsibility to Costa Ricans for their own health.
The only people who are required to wear a mask are the people who work in the health care system. For example, if someone has a weakened immune system, out of fairness, we cannot expose that person to someone who has the virus,” explained the President.
He did mention he personally recommended the use of masks and encouraged people to get fully vaccinated.
“To the rest of the people, I recommend that they wear a mask on the bus if they feel like it, especially those who have not been vaccinated three or four times. That is common sense, Ticos are intelligent people and Ticas even more so. I respect the population, and if a new covid wave comes, we will reevaluate,” Chaves further elaborated.
The Association of Physicians and Surgeons of Costa Rica, the Association of Pharmacists of Costa Rica and the National Medical Union of Costa Rica, publicly spoke against lifting the mask mandate.
“Eliminating the obligatory use of masks in enclosed places, as well as vaccination against covid-19, is inopportune,” read the statement issued.
“Costa Rica is on the verge of a fifth wave, so it would have been ideal to wait for its behavior before taking a decision such as the one that has just been communicated”, affirmed the president of the Association of Physicians and Surgeons of Costa Rica.
“We express our concern regarding the non-mandatory vaccination, as it was a reasonable and proportional measure, with a valuable which has represented a very valuable contribution in terms of public health, due to the coverage achieved,” said Lidiette Fonseca, president of the Association of Pharmacists.
The Association of Physicians and Surgeons of Costa Rica, clarified it is respectful of the decisions made by the authorities; however, it urged citizens to voluntarily maintain the use of masks and asked the population to get vaccinated.