Wednesday 12 May 2021

These are the business closings and the vehicle restriction for May

Updated information on the closure of non-essential businesses (from May 3 to 9) and vehicle restriction (from May 3 to 31)

QCOSTARICA – What are the new measures that apply next week and the rest of the month, to reduce the exponential growth in the number of new cases of covid-19, as well as hospitalizations and deaths?

On Thursday, April 29, the government ordered the closure of non-essential businesses from May 3 to 9, in 45 cantons of the Central Valley.

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During that week, to remain closed are:

  • Retail shops in general
  • Department stores
  • Beauty salons and barbershops
  • Churches
  • Gyms
  • All establishments with a sanitary permit that deal directly with the consumer

The exceptions to closures are:

  • Home delivery services (food, online purchases, etc)
  • Public and private health centers, as well as pharmacies
  • Garbage collection
  • Supermarkets, caterers, grocery stores and mini-supermarkets, bakeries, butchers, greengrocer, and farmer’s fairs
  • Hardware stores and sale of construction materials (locksmiths, glassworks, repair of vehicles and equipment, lubrication centers, sale of vehicle parts and spare parts, car washers, and fuel supply)
  • Banking services, hotels, and public parking lots.
  • Self-service take out (customer remains inside the vehicle).
  • All those establishments with a sanitary operating permit that do not provide attention to the public in person, such as productive activities, industries and free zones (zona francas).

OJO: The foregoing is for the Central Valley in the following provinces/cantons that accumulated 68% of cases registered in April:

  • San José: San José center, Escazú, Desamparados, Aserrí, Mora, Goicoechea, Santa Ana, Alajuelita, Vásquez de Coronado, Tibás, Moravia, Montes de Oca, Curridabat, Puriscal, Tarrazú, Acosta, Turrubares, Dota and León Cortés
  • Alajuela: Alajuela center, Poás, Atenas, Grecia, Sarchí, Palmares, Naranjo, San Ramón and Zarcero
  • Heredia: Heredia center, Barva, Santo Domingo, Santa Bárbara, San Rafael, San Isidro, Belén, Flores and San Pablo
  • Cartago: Cartago center, Paraíso, La Unión, Alvarado, Oreamuno, Jiménez, Turrialba and El Guarco

The “official” list of the cantons and all the restrictions can be found here.

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Vehicle Restrictions

Careful, because the sanitary vehicle restrictions announced for May can be confusing, as while the nighttime restrictions from 9:00 pm to 5:00 am apply countrywide and every day (Monday to Sunday), the daytime restrictions apply only to the Central Valley cantons (as listed above), from 5:00 am to 9:00 pm.

In addition, the restrictions for May have been extended to the 31st for the month. It was supposed to have been to the 16th.

We will try to explain them as clear as possible.

For the entire country

  • The nighttime restrictions are the same we have been living with for the past months, save on May 3 it will begin at 9 pm and not 11 pm.
  • The daytime restrictions apply only on weekends from 5:00 am to 9:00 pm based on the last digit of the license plate: on Saturdays, only vehicles with plates ending in even numbers (0, 2, 4, 6, 8) CAN circulate; on Sundays, odds (1, 3, 5, 7, 9) CAN circulate.
  • The are exemptions to who can be on the road after 9 pm, namely people with a work letter, public transport vehicles such as taxis and tourism vans, rental cars, picking up and dropping off someone at the airport, among others. See the full list of exemptions here.

For the Central Valley cantons

The daytime vehicle restrictions, from 5:00 am to 9:00 pm are similar to what we have had during the earlier days of the pandemic.

  • On Mondays, vehicles with the plates ending in 1 and 2 CANNOT circulate
  • On Tuesdays, vehicles with the plates ending in 3 and 4 CANNOT circulate
  • On Wednesdays, vehicles with the plates ending in 5 and 6 CANNOT circulate
  • On Thursdays, vehicles with the plates ending in 7 and 8 CANNOT circulate
  • On Fridays, vehicles with the plates ending in 9 and 0 CANNOT circulate
  • On weekends, the countrywide daytime restrictions apply.

Important to note that if are coming into the Central Valley, you will be required to respect the above. For example, coming from Puntarenas on the Ruta 27, once you enter the canton of Atenas you may be violating the vehicle restriction; The same if coming in on the Ruta 1 as you enter San Ramon.

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The fine for violating the vehicular restrictions is ¢110,000 colones. Plus any other violations the traffic official may pick up on, ie no Riteve and/or Marchamo, expired driver’s license, etc.



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We strive for accuracy in its reports. But if you see something that doesn’t look right, send us an email. The Q reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it’s accuracy.

"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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