Thursday 1 June 2023

Eliminating vehicle restriction on weekends being evaluated

Decision will depend on whether the downward trend of new daily infections continues

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QCOSTARICA – The Government announced Sunday night that it is evaluating lifting the sanitary vehicle restriction on weekends starting in March.

This was confirmed by the Ministry of Communication, after the Minister of Health, Daniel Salas, also expressed the intention to modify the measure.

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“This change would be due to the results of the analysis of measures and the epidemiological panorama, which indicates that in recent weeks there has been a decrease in cases of hospitalization and mortality, therefore, if this trend continues for the month of March, eventually the sanitary restriction on weekends could be lifted,” said the Presidency in a statement.

In other words, if the current downwards trend of new cases of covid-19 daily continues, as that of the R or contagion rage, which for weeks has been below 1, we can see the weekend vehicular restrictions eliminated.

Since the second week of January, Costa Rica has registered a decrease in daily new cases of covid-19 as well as in the number of people hospitalized and deaths.

Currently, three types of vehicle restriction apply in the country:

1. Daytime restriction during the week

It applies from Monday to Friday, from 5 am to 10 pm in the central area of ​​San José, according to the last number of the vehicle’s license plate. This restriction is the same in area as it was in force before the pandemic, but expanded in hours.

2. Daytime restriction on weekends

It applies throughout the entire country on Saturdays and Sundays, from 5:00 am to 10:00 pm, according to odd and even plates. On Saturdays, only vehicles with license plates ending in even numbers (0, 2, 4, 6, & 8) can circulate; on Sundays, only vehicles with license plates ending in odd numbers (1, 3, 5, 7, & 9) can circulate.

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This is the measure that would be eliminated next month.

3. Nighttime restrictions

Every day, from 10:00 pm to 5:00 am, all vehicles are prohibited from circulating throughout the entire country, save for exemptions, such as tourism vehicles, rental cars,  taking or picking up people from the airport, going to and from hotels or holiday lodgings with reservations, going to and from work with an employer letter, and transporting merchandise, among others. See the full exemptions here.

Reasons for the change

According to the government’s message, in the event of a change in the measures, the supervision of compliance with protocols in activities approved to date would be reinforced and the rigor of their application would be increased.

“In addition, it is necessary for the population to continue to abide by the protocols with discipline and not to neglect themselves, in order to avoid a new rebound in cases and an eventual peak in hospitalization and mortality,” the statement added.

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