CRC Daily: What's open (and what isn't) in Costa Rica

Like many other countries, Costa Rica has enacted some coronavirus restrictions.

Planning on visiting Costa Rica, or just curious as to how the country is handling the coronavirus pandemic? Here are the measures currently in place in Costa Rica:

Nearly all commercial activities are permitted

Most businesses and tourist attractions can remain open. Masks are required indoors, and establishments must ensure people can adequately remain 6 feet apart. In many cases, this involves limiting capacity to 50%.

A handful of activities remain prohibited, including:

  • Concerts, public shows, fairs, bullfights, sports with in-person attendance.

  • Some places of public gathering, including the National Theater, Mélico Salazar Theater, amusement parks, night clubs, spas, and certain recreational parks (skate parks, trampoline parks, etc.).

Otherwise, businesses and attractions that adhere to protocols can open. This includes beaches, national parks, restaurants, bars, casinos, stores, malls, etc.

No test required for entry

As we detailed last week, a coronavirus test is not required to enter Costa Rica. Tourists must arrive via flight or boat (no entering via land borders yet), and they must have insurance that covers COVID-19 medical expenses and extended lodging.

Many airlines — including the US “big three” of America, Delta and United — have resumed flights to Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) and/or Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR).

Some driving restrictions remain

In an effort to limit unnecessary travel, Costa Rica has imposed a nighttime driving ban from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. on weeknights, and from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. on weekends.

In addition, a daytime restriction exists as follows:

  • Mondays: Vehicles with license plates ending in 1 and 2 can’t drive.

  • Tuesdays: Vehicles with license plates ending in 3 and 4 can’t drive.

  • Wednesdays: Vehicles with license plates ending in 5 and 6 can’t drive.

  • Thursdays: Vehicles with license plates ending in 7 and 8 can’t drive.

  • Fridays: Vehicles with license plates ending in 9 and 0 can’t drive.

  • Saturdays: All vehicles can drive.

  • Sundays: All vehicles can drive.

There are numerous exemptions to these rules. The most relevant for our readers: Rental cars can drive freely; anyone driving to/from a hotel can do so on their “restricted” day; you can drive someone to/from the airport at any time. If any of these situations applies, make sure to have proof (e.g. reservation confirmation, flight itinerary) in case you’re stopped by police.

The coronavirus situation in Costa Rica

COVID-19 will be Costa Rica’s leading cause of death in 2020. As of Tuesday, the country had confirmed 1,731 COVID-19-related deaths, and 571 people are hospitalized.

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