Thursday 29 September 2022

Costa Rica eases measures for a 15-day trial from May 1 to May 15

These are the establishments that may open from May 1 to May 15, and under what conditions

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29 September 2022 - At The Banks - BCCR

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Keeping to his word, Health Minister Daniel Salas this afternoon announced a 15-day trial period with eased restrictions, “to see what happens”.

President Carlos Alvarado (Center), Health Minister Daniel Salas (left) and Roman Macaya, president of the CCSS (right)

What that means is that from May 1 to May 15, depends on how we, as a people, behave, there will be more flexibility of the measures or, it would be necessary to go back, to restrict again.

According to Salas, and presented in a series of powerpoint slides, in this first wave the number of people who could have become infected did not, so there are risks for the second wave or more waves, which can even be more serious.

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“If we become negligent, by mid-July we could have 52,628 cases of covid. That is to say, we would go from 697 cases today to that figure,” explained Salas of the projections made by mathematicians

He added, “it sounds daunting to those who hoped we would say it has passed, but he recalled that the country and the world are facing a pandemic.”

The decree signed by Minister Salas and President Alvarado in front of the television cameras

As for the capacity of intensive care beds, they could be filled by June.

“This will not happen if restrictions and good behavior are maintained by citizens and by employers …

“It (the numbers) tells us that we are not in a time to celebrate, to relax. We must maintain a certain rigor and when we go to public places, that they comply with distance measures and that all hygiene measures are applied,” warned the Minister.

“For the 14 days, we are going to observe the rebound that we can have in the curve, if the rebound is positive we can allow more activities, if it is negative we would have to restrict others that had been allowed,” he said.

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The Minister spoke for more than 20 minutes non-stop, moving from slide to slide, emphasizing crucial points of what has been learned since the first case of Covid-19 was reported, March 6, and will be or not, if take care or not.

What will be allowed open starting on May 1 to May 15, from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm, weekdays only:

  • Theaters and cinemas, with measures of separation of seats of at least 2 meters between each person, and ticket purchases through electronic box office. It does not apply to the National Theater and the Mélico Salazar Theater, which must remain closed.
  • Establishments for the practice or training of non-contact sports, with a reduction in their maximum capacity of normal occupation to twenty-five percent (25%).
  • Gyms with a reduction of their maximum capacity of normal occupation to twenty-five percent (25%), with appointment scheduling and different hours for people with risk factors.
  • Swimming schools, with a reduction in their maximum normal occupancy capacity to twenty-five percent (25%).
  • Bicycle rental, with the application of strict disinfection and hygiene measures.

What will be allowed open only on weekends, starting on May 1 to May 15, from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm:

  • Beauty salons and barber shops, with a capacity of fifty percent (50%) according to maximum capacity and only by appointment.
  • Retail sale of parts, pieces and accessories for motor vehicles and motorcycles, with a capacity of fifty percent (50%) according to maximum occupancy capacity.
  • Parking lots and parking garages.
  • Bicycle rental, with the application of strict disinfection and hygiene measures.
  • Bicycle repair workshops, with a capacity of fifty percent (50%) according to maximum capacity.

President Carlos Alvarado announced that the current vehicular restrictions, closure of borders, beaches and national parks will continue to apply as they are now, until May 15; schools are closed indefinitely.

Massive events, such as concerts and sports (soccer games) will continue to be prohibited.

“During the week that begins on May 11, a review of the progress of the pandemic will be made to determine what the next steps are and that will always be under the technical supervision of Health,” added Alvarado.

Protocol for reactivation and continuity of work activities that must comply with the following general guidelines of the Ministry of Health:

  • Constantly verify that the sanitary protocols are being applied in all their internal areas, with a focus on continuous improvement.
  • People with symptoms or signs of cold or flu are prohibited from attending work, study or meeting places.
  • Telecommuting should be promoted at all possible means.
  • Have a protocol for action in the presence of a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, so that it can be promptly attended to.
  • Have an internal communication mechanism to keep all officials, clients or members updated on any modification or update of internal or general measures.
  • The facilities must have signage in visible spaces with the protocols of coughing, sneezing, hand washing, among others. Sanitary services must be equipped with toilet paper, antibacterial soap, alcohol or gel solution with a composition of at least 60%, paper towels for drying hands and drinking water.
  • Likewise, there must be a cleaning protocol that specifies at least the products to be used, the frequency, the personal protective equipment, as well as the correct form for the disposal of waste and make a visible log with the actions.
  • Regarding ventilation, natural ventilation should be preferred, but in the absence of this, it will be mandatory to maintain the air conditioning with the replacement of filters according to the specifications of each system.
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The Ministry of Health will carry out random inspections to verify compliance with the protocols. Those businesses that do not comply with the general guidelines and specific protocols will have their health permit suspended for one calendar month.

Use of workspace guidelines:

  • All spaces must operate at 50% of their capacity to ensure that the 2-meter distance between people can be met.
  • Workspaces should not be shared, even in sequential shifts.
  • Utensils or objects should not be shared in the workplace or meeting.
  • Maintain cleanliness and disinfection in the facilities.
  • Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned with alcohol solution of at least 70 ° or commercial disinfectants frequently.
  • Those services that can be carried out through appointments must prioritize this methodology.
  • Establish different opening hours in customer service centers for vulnerable populations.
  • Meetings or congregations of people should be virtual whenever possible. If they are in person, they should not exceed 1 hour.
  • Schedules must be established in the institution’s canteens or eating areas, in order to maintain capacity at 50%.
  • Promote home delivery of goods and services to reduce the number of customers that must go to the point of sale.
  • Divide the teams of workers or production teams into groups to ensure that there are “backup teams” that can ensure production on all work shifts.
  • Reduce or restrict visits by external personnel to the operation or contractors, keeping only those related to critical issues.
  • If an employee meets the definition of a suspected case, they will not be allowed to enter the workplace, they must be provided with a face mask and they must be instructed to go to the institutional, business, or another health center close for evaluation

Some of the slides presented by Health Minister Salas

All of the above is developing. We will post updated information as it becomes available through official notifications.

 

 

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