QCOSTARICA – “December 2020 is not going to be a normal December, and if we want to make it normal, the virus will take advantage. With many simultaneous transmissions we could arrive at the detestable scenario in which there are no beds for patients”.
These words from the Minister of Health, Daniel Salas, show that Costa Rica’s health authorities – like many others in the world – do not intend to loosen the measures to contain the spread of Covid-19 during the Christmas and end-of-season holidays.
Although it could be a good Christmas wish, the reality is that the coronavirus pandemic will not pause, give us a break to celebrate with family and friends as we normally do this time of year.
Rather, these festive encounters expose us to a greater risk of contagion, even if none i attendance show symptoms.
A single asymptomatic person could start an outbreak of the virus.
But then what are the current measures?
The sanitary vehicle restriction will remain in the same way as it was applied in November. And will be in place including December 24, 25, 31, and January 1, 2021 (subject to any changes announced for January) confirmed by the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation (MOPT).
As the festive dates fall during the week, it will be forbidden to drive by vehicle after 10:oo pm at night, subject to exemptions.
While, on Saturdays and Sundays, the driving ban will take effect from 9:00 pm.
“On Friday, December 25, the restriction is applied normally, even if it is a holiday. The same on December 24 and 31, from 5:00 am to 10:00 pm is the allowed circulation.
“The same exceptions are maintained, such as going to work (with a letter), to a medical appointment (with a receipt), to the airport (with a ticket), and to the place of accommodation (with a confirmation or invoice),” the MOPT reported.
In addition, on December 24, being Thursday, the plates ending in 7 and 8 will not be able to circulate at all. The same on Thursday, December 31.
On Friday, December 25 cars with license plates ending in 9 and 0 will not be able to circulate. If the restrictions are not changed for January, these vehicles will not be able to circulate on the first day of 2021 either.
Also, remember that the sanitary vehicle restriction applies to Monday for license plates ending on 1 and 2, Tuesday on 3 and 4, Wednesday on 5 and 6, Thursday at 7 and 8 and Friday at 9 and 0.
The vehicular restrictions and the exemptions are well known to all, they have been in place unchanged since the beginning of November. The surprise for some or many is that there will not be any special consideration for Christmas and New Year’s.
In addition, drivers can expect more traffic police and spot checks in the days ahead and during the holidays.
The Policia de Transito (Traffic Police) reported that they will carry out about 5,000 operations this December, AND not only for the vehicle restrictions, but will also focus on speeding and drunk driving.
Violating the sanitary vehicle restrictions carries a fine of ¢110,000 colones (¢107,000 plus costs).
Transitos (traffic police officials) will no longer seize license plates and/or vehicles, nor will the 6 points to the license apply, for violating the vehicle restrictions, HOWEVER, seizures and points may apply for other traffic offenses such as speeding and driving under the influence, that, in severe cases, can lead to criminal charges as well.
Have a safe and happy holiday from the Q. Remember to wear a mask, keep your distance, don’t break social bubbles, don’t speed and for the love of family and friends, do not drink and drive.