Saturday 4 February 2023

“No One Checked Me Out”

Paying the bills


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4 February 2023 - At The Banks - BCCR

Paying the bills


Rico’s TICO BULL – Several arrivals, foreigners, into Costa Rica’s Juan Santamaria (San Jose) international airport the last week had a similar answer: no one checked me out.

I had each one, how was the line inside (the immigration and customs line), what were you asked and did anyone check you out? Not always in the same order, but the same three questions.

The first were more than a week ago, when Costa Rica was only gearing up to the coronavirus covid-19, outside the arrivals packed with people waiting, tons of people coming out.

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It was somewhat scary at first to see many, in those early days, wearing masks. Especially when a group of orientals, all wearing masks, made their out of the door past the customs. Large groups of students, smaller groups of older tourists. From the US, Europe and Latin America. You could spot the difference, their attitude, their style and their luggage.

As the days passed, the crowds waiting got thinner, by Saturday a week later, only a handfull of people waiting. And it was noon, one of the busiest times of the day at the SJO.

By this time I had thought screening would have been a norm, the arrivals in the days before had said hardly had they been asked anything.

All the people I picked up had some ties to the medical profession, none were doctors, some were nursers, others in the medical evac and transport business in Chepe for a conference. At the end of the week, the pick ups were of “medical escorts” picking up patients in Costa Rica for their return home to the US of A and Canada.

All had the same answer, no one checked them out. Other than the standard immigration questions, it was business as usual. Not what I have been reading and reporting, measures being taken by the government to keep us safe.

On Tuesday, a friend arrived from Texas. I was not there to pick him up, but spoke to him after his arrival.

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No one checked him out either. And this was the same day that Minister of Health Daniel Salas informed us of 41 confirmed cases of the coronavirus covid-19 in the country; a day after President Carlos Alvarado announced a shut down of the borders to all foreigners.

No one checked him out.

Was I missing something?

Browsing the web I came across an article by Liseth Castro of the Tico, 23-year-old Mauricio Montero, who entered the country, on Tuesday, from Washington State (Lizeth said D.C.,

Mauricio Montero. Photo from
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though I am sure she meant the state) where as of last night, Tuesday, reports more than 1,000 infected  and 54 deaths.

And no one checked him out either.

“After traveling with strict protection measures, the Tico was greatly surprised when at the Juan Santamaría Airport they did not even check him (out),” writes Lizeth.

Montero said he flew to Costa Rica “with my heart in my hand because I didn’t know if I could catch the virus”, taking advantage of the US$100 cost, when a few months back he had paid more than ten times that for a one day to the next flight to attend his mother’s funeral.

He said came to Costa Rica before the Ministry of Health’s  stricter provision, that requires Ticos to a mandatory 14-day isolation, came into effect.

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"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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