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Costa Rica closes all Bars and Nightclubs

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The Health Ministry on Sunday announced eight new coronavirus cases within Costa Rica.

Costa Rica’s tally of COVID-19 cases to 35, up from 27 on Saturdaywith eight new cases being announced by the Heath Ministry on Sunday.

The Health Minister Daniel Salas has stated that the 35 cases are comprised of 28 adults, 3 elderly adults and 4 minors.

It is important to note that only four people are currently hospitalized in Costa Rica, due to the virus — however three of them are in intensive care.

On Sunday, the Health Ministry has ordered that all bars, nightclubs and casinos across Costa Rica remain closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Salas said the decision was made after many establishments ignored a previous recommendation limiting those facilities to 50% of their legal occupancy.

The new closure oddly does not affect restaurants as long as they comply with the 50% decrease in occupancy otherwise they will face a mandatory 30-day closure.

Costa Rica previously suspended large public gatherings such as sporting events and concerts. As of today they are temporarily closing 350 schools. Public transit is still running with stricter guidlines for cleanliness being implemented to ensure limited risks of exposure to the virus.

Banks and grocery stores are open, although even last week it was evident that fewer people are visiting these places, evidence that the word is getting out to avoid unecessary exposure.

The Health Minister has requested that everyone avoid nonessential travel, however flights remain open to tourists coming. It should be noted that the US banned flights from the EU, for anyone other than US citizens or visa holders. There are concerns the same could happen with Central America. “As of March 16 at 11:59 p.m., the entry of non-nationals and non-residents of Panama into the country is restricted,” the president of Panama, Laurentino Cortizo, reported on his Twitter account.

For those who rely on medical supplies and prescriptions from home, they should check with local pharmacies or clinics to ensure they are available here.

We're also close to Santa Semana, when San Jose invades the beaches of Guanacaste. While we would expect the policy recommendations of the Health Ministry will reduce the numbers of beachgoers, with school and work closings we could see the opposite effect, with people coming to the beach sooner and staying longer.

While the government tries to reduce possible exposure to the virus and thereby reduce the spread throughout the country, it is important for individuals do their best to avoid risks. Wash your hands longer and more frequently, avoid rubbing eyes, nose and mouth with fingers, avoid handshakes and hugs. Wash down counters, sinks, toilets and door handles with bleach or alcohol.

Hopefully the spread of this disease winds down on its own, but in the meantime do your best to reduce exposure. If you have friends or family on respirators or with compromised immune systems, check on them and see if you can help with trips for groceries or medical supplies, so these people can remain safely at home.

Also Note: Costa Rica has activated a non-emergency line to answer citizen questions regarding the coronavirus pandemic. The new number for information and updates is 1322. Emergency situations should still be reported to 911.