Semana Santa is almost over and though there is some letting up of the tight restrictions of this week, the Minister of Health and Minister of Security announced new restrictions that take effect on Monday, April 13.
From April 13 to April 30, the nighttime restrictions will be in place from 7:00 pm to 5:00 am every day. That is on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
The restrictions apply countrywide and to all vehicles.
The daytime restrictions from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm are as follows:
- Mondays, vehicles with plates ending in 1 & 2 cannot circulate
- Tuesdays, vehicles with plates ending in 3 & 4 cannot circulate
- Wednesdays, vehicles with plates ending in 5 & 6 cannot circulate
- Thursdays, vehicles with plates ending in 7 & 8 cannot circulate
- Fridays, vehicles with plates ending in 9 & 0 cannot circulate
- Saturdays, vehicles with plates ending in 0, 2, 4, 6, & 8 cannot circulate
- Sundays, vehicles with plates ending in 1, 3, 5, 7, & 9 cannot circulate
A note on the weekday and weekend restrictions, the former you can be driving (within the permitted hours) to and from anywhere, for any reason, at will; for the weekends, the going to the supermarket and pharmacy rule applies.
The restrictions to all motorized vehicles, including motorcycles, on any road in the country, unless they are in the list of exempted.
Public transport (buses) can operate only between 4:00 am 11:00 pm daily, and must not carry standing passengers.
Taxis are permitted to operate around the clock.
The fine for violating the vehicular restriction is ¢110,400 colones (with costs), 6 points on the license and possible seizure of license plates and vehicle.
To give you an idea of little drivers are paying attention, between 5:00 pm Friday and 5:00 am Saturday, a total of 497 drivers were fined for violating the vehicular restrictions. Many of them also were issued multiple infractions, that is some drivers were without a license or driving with an expired license (it was not renewed prior to the national emergency), did not have the marchamo and vehicle inspection current, among other infractions, and a number driving under the influence.
Remember, in Costa Rica, a traffic official can issue in one stop a number of tickets to the same driver for different violations. AND you can be issued another series of tickets, even on the same day, if picked off by another official.
Be smart and save money, drive only on the days allowed and with all the right paperwork: driver’s license (current), vehicle ownership, the current year marchamo and the Riteve inspection.
If you are driving to and from work, have a letter from the employer of your working hours. If going to a doctor’s appointment, be prepared to confirm the appointment. If you are taking someone to the emergency room, quickly explain your situation and ask for a police escort.