Rico’s DIGEST – In a few days, on Monday, August 10, most of the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM) and the Panama border areas of Puntarenas goes on lockdown for 12 days. It seems easy enough: orange zones closed, yellow zone (the rest of the country) open.
I wish it were that simple. It can be if you are not driving.
Starting at 5:00 am Monday morning, the vehicular restrictions change from not allowing two license plates to allowing only two license plates to circulate.
In the yellow zones, vehicular restrictions are total from 5:00 am to 10:00 pm weekdays and 5:00 am to 7:00 pm weekends, on Mondays vehicles with licenses plated ending in 1 & 2 cannot circulate, Tuesdays 3 & 4, Wednesdays 5 & 6, Thursdays, 7 & 8, Fridays 9 & 0, Saturdays (0,2,4,6 & 8), and Sunday (1,3,5,7 & 9)
In orange zones the vehicular restrictions is total from 5:00 pm to 5:00 am every day and from Monday, August 10 to Friday, August 21, only vehicles that can circulate are on Mondays with license plates ending 1 & 2, Tuesdays (3 & 4), Wednesdays (5 & 6), Thursdays (7 & 8), Fridays (9 & 0), Saturday (0,2,4,6 & 8) and Sunday (1,3,5,7 & 9).
It’s all straight forward in theory. But it may be something else in real life.
Using the Ruta 27 (San Jose – Caldera) as a driving point, let’s say it’s Tuesday, you are coming from the beaches, you are motoring away, and unless your license plates end in 3 or 4 you are good to drive when, all of a sudden as you cross the Rio Grande, and you realize you’ve just crossed from the imaginary line from yellow to orange and only vehicles ending in plates 3 and 4 can drive today.
Or, say you live in Cuidad Colon (Mora) and are used to shopping for groceries in Santa Ana, and its Thursday, and like the example before, unless your vehicle plates end in 7 & 8 you are good to drive when as round the curve, heading east, you realize only vehicles 7 & 8 can circulate today beyond this point, as you left the canton of Mora and now in Santa Ana.
No warning, no sign, at least none that I have heard that will be posted, but maybe a team of transitos (traffic cops) waiting on the other side of the invisible boundary with a ticket pad in one hand and a screwdriver in the other?
Or the two pockets in Heredia and Alajuela?
Following are several posters prepared to help you understand this. The fine for violating the vehicular restrictions is ¢110,000 colones, six points and seizure of license plates (hence the screwdriver) and or vehicle.
Pick the one that works best for you and keep it handy.