Costa Rica adopted new driving and trade restrictions in its populous central valley on Monday that aim to reduce the contagion of Covid-19 at a time when hospital capacity is saturated in much of the country.
From May 3-9, most non-essential businesses in the Central Valley are to remain closed. Companies outside this zone are not affected by this measure.
In addition, from May 3 to May 31, traffic in the Central Valley will be controlled by a weekday traffic restriction.
The cantons included in the central region are:
- Province of San José: Acosta, Alajuelita, Aserrí, Curridabat, Desamparados, Dota, Escazú, Goicochea, León Cortés, Montes de Oca, Mora, Moravia, Puriscal, San José, Santa Ana, Tarrazú, Tibás, Turrubares, Vazquez de Coronado.
- Alajuela: Alajuela, Alfaro Ruiz, Atenas, Grecia, Naranjo, Palmarés, Poás, San Ramón, Sarchí.
- Cartago: Alvarado, Cartago, El Guarco, Jiménez, La Unión, Oreamuno, Turrialba, Paraíso.
- Heredia: Barva, Belén, Flores, Heredia, San Isidro, San Pablo, San Rafael, Santa Bárbara, Santo Domingo.
Exceptions to May 3-9 business closures include: supermarkets, pharmacies, medical centers, grocery stores, caterers, bakeries, butchers, grocers, home delivery, farm supplies, veterinarians and hygiene, banks, funeral homes, hotels and farmers’ markets.
In-person teaching will remain unchanged across the country, as the health ministry cited its benefits for children.
The nationwide night driving ban remains from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. The weekday driving restrictions in the Central region for May 3-31 are as follows:
- Monday: vehicles whose plates end in 1 and 2 cannot circulate.
- Tuesday: vehicles whose plates end in 3 and 4 cannot circulate.
- Wednesday: vehicles with plates ending in 5 and 6 cannot circulate.
- Thursday: vehicles with plates ending in 7 and 8 cannot circulate.
- Friday: vehicles with plates ending in 9 and 0 cannot circulate.
Nationwide weekend daytime restrictions (5 a.m. to 9 p.m.) also continue in May:
- Saturday: vehicles whose plates end with odd numbers cannot be driven.
- Sunday: vehicles whose plates end with even numbers (including 0) cannot be driven.
The standard list of exceptions to driving restrictions will continue to apply. This includes people driving to / from the airport, to / from a hotel reservation, to / from work and rental cars.
Costa Rica reported 2,609 new coronavirus cases and 911 people hospitalized with Covid-19 on Friday. Many public hospitals now maintain waiting lists for ICU beds.
Costa Rica’s public health system has up to 393 intensive care beds available for Covid-19 patients. As of Friday, 380 intensive care beds across the country were occupied by Covid-19 patients.