As the economic shut-down proves more difficult for Costa Rica’s tourist sector, the Ministry of Health has reopened Costa Rica’s borders to tourists from countries that have controlled the coronavirus. Visitor flow will be limited, but residents and small business owners in the country are hopeful that this development will revitalize struggling businesses.
Right now, COVID-19 is still on the rise in Costa Rica. As of August 13, 2020, there are 26,129 confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the country. Of these cases, 8,412 have recovered and 272 have died. The country is still focusing on careful and gradual reopening, to protect public health.
The Costa Rican government expects to continue expanding the list as more countries control the spread of COVID-19. As of now, the Ministry of Health’s policy is to permit visitors from countries that have the virus under control.
Recent statements from the government have clarified that, as of August 14, 2020, tourists from Canada, the UK, and the EU are permitted to enter the country. Visitors from countries in the Schengen Zone that are not part of the EU, such as Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Iceland, are also permitted in Costa Rica.
Currently, two flights from Frankfurt, Germany and Madrid, Spain are the primary path into Costa Rica, but officials expect to expand this list as time goes on.
If you’re planning to visit Costa Rica, you’ll need to go through their safety protocols. In an effort to maintain low tourism levels, only five commercial flights into Costa Rica will be running per week. Tourists will be required to show that they are not a substantial coronavirus risk by taking the following steps:
Costa Rica has been focused on reopening the country’s economy and services on a selective basis. Some areas have been classified as safer, and reopening has progressed faster in these regions. Orange zones are more limited, with driving and many public activities still restricted. In Orange Zones, there will be a closure period for many businesses from August 10–21.
Beach hours in yellow alert areas have been extended to 5am to 2:30pm with most outdoor tourism activities permitted. As Phase III continues, more businesses are allowed to reopen, so long as all commercial employees are masked.
Masks are required indoors and in areas where maintaining social distancing is not possible. In yellow zones, driving is permitted from 5am to 10pm on weekdays and 5am to 7pm on weekends, with permitted license numbers changing daily.
It’s important to be prepared for the unexpected if you plan to visit Costa Rica at this time. Be ready for a 14-day quarantine period, possible closures, difficulty driving, and regular changes. The Ministerio de Salud, Daniel Salas Peraza, has made it clear that the country is willing to amend its reopening plans and standards to protect public health.