(QCOSTARICA) Without giving a specific date, including not commenting if the current restrictions of the arrival of tourists will be lifted or extended, the Minister of Health, Daniel Salas, confirmed that the eventual opening of borders for international tourism will take place gradually and in a controlled manner.
Salas indicated that priority will be given to tourists who come from countries where there is no magnified transmission of COVID-19 and that the entry will be through a protocol that allows traceability and security standards.
Currently, the closing of borders to foreigners remains in force until July 1. However, that date could be once again extended.
“This is going to take many months, the pandemic is going to be a constant for the rest of 2020, we cannot paralyze all sectors, there are sectors that represent an increased risk, it is not that we are going to open the borders so that all the flights as previously.
“We will do so in due course (of time) to allow people to come from countries where there is no magnified transmission, with a series of steps, procedures that will minimize the possible risk of transmission and that we will have the capacity to guarantee that will be allowed to be traceable and controlled,” said Salas.
The Juan Santamaría Airport (SJO) or San Jose airport already has ready the protocol that would be applied in the event of a possible resuming of commercial flights.
The measures include the use of masks, temperature taking, distancing within the terminal and operation of the boarding gates at 50% of capacity.
The minister said that it is necessary to live with the virus, since it is not possible to close the company completely.
“In Costa Rica, we have had a balanced sanitary containment and we have kept a productive sector working. If we do not achieve that balance, the social and economic impacts can be catastrophic,” added Salas.
Currently, only those Costa Rican citizens or legal residents (if they did not leave the country after March 24) can enter the country.
In addition, the transit of foreigners (ie truckers) who are part of the transport sector is allowed under strict controls such as the implementation of GPS tracking or convoys escorted by Public Security.
The tourism industry represents 8% of Costa Rica’s gross domestic product (GDP).