Costa Rica, as of Monday, April 27, reported 697 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 2 more than the previous day.
By gender, the number of infected are 334 women and 363 men; of which 628 are Costa Ricans and 69 foreigners.
The age range of the infected is from one year to 87.
A total of 287 have recovered; 16 remain in hospital, of which 8 are in the intensive care. The deceased remains at 6.
The active cases has dropped to 404.
On Monday, Costa Rica’s President Carlos Alvarado and Health Minister Daniel Salas announced what can be called a first stage, a trial period of May 1 to May 15, to loosen some of the restrictions, to see where it goes.
Days earlier, Minister Salas had commented that we must open up to go forward. However, the “loosening” that goes into effect May 1, was not what most had expected.
In effect, other than allowing more businesses to open during the week only, such as cines, gyms, swim schools and rental of bicycles and on weekends only, beauty salons, barbershops, autoparts stores, among others (see list below), the vehicular restrictions remain, schools remain closed indefinitely, beaches and parks remain closed, limited capacity at restaurants and retail shops continue as before.
What did really loosen up? Not much really. The borders remain partially closed, that is only Costa Rican nationals and legal residents are permitted entry, subject to a 14-day mandatory quarantine.
For the hotel and travel sectors, nothing changed. People are still being asked to stay at home, practice social distancing and good hygiene, like washing hands and using a facemask, though not compulsory.
This is a test of what the population will do. The President said that on May 11 there will be an evaluation of the behavior of the citizenry; Minister Salas noted that the number of cases will influence the decision to move to the next step.
For tourists how chose to remain in Costa Rica or could not get a flight out, the immigration service announced days earlier (the 24th) that their legal permanence (tourist visa) in the country will be extended to July 17, 2020 (from May 17).
This is important on a couple of grounds, first there is no stress or concern of being in the country illegally, and second, not having to pay the fine for overstaying that went into effect on April 21.
As a reminder, the nighttime restrictions continue to be applied from 7:00 pm to 5:00 am, for all vehicles unless it is on the exemption list (by now everyone knows or should know the list, if you have to ask, you are most likely not exempt). The daytime restrictions are from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm, from Monday to Friday based on the last digits of the license plate; 1 & 2 on Mondays, 3 & 4 on Tuesdays, 5 & 6 on Wednesdays, 7 & 8 on Thursdays, and 9 & 0 on Fridays; the weekends, Saturdays evens (0, 2, 4, 6 & 8) are restricted, on Sundays odds (1,3,5,7 & 9) are restricted.
The fine for violating the countrywide restriction is ¢110,400 colones, six points on the license (meaning driver-ed is mandatory on license renewal) and the confiscation of license plates and/or vehicles.
Public transportation: only route buses can operate only from 4 am to 11 pm daily, with no standing permitted; taxis can operate 24/7 with no restrictions.
For the detailed (official and in Spanish) regulations for the “reopening” click here.
Call Costa Rican emergency number 911 or COVID hotline 1322 right away if you believe you may have COVID-19 (or similar symptoms) or were exposed to someone who may have COVID-19 in the last six weeks.