Beginning tomorrow, August 10 thru August 21st, the government of Costa Rica is changing restrictions on cantons under Orange Alert, which is primarily focused on the Greater Metro Area (GAM) of San Jose.
The change comes in advance of Mother's Day in Costa Rica on August 15th and what is normally a big day for celebrations with family. It was only recently that Mother's Day weekend was made into a long weekend, by making the following Monday, August 17th a holiday.
The government wants to deter social gatherings in an attempt to reduce the spread of the virus causing Covid-19, and has decided the best way to do so is restrict business hours and driving in the San Jose GAM. For those in San Jose the new rules allow driving until 9pm, instead of the previous 5pm restriction.
Once again drivers in Orange Alert Zones are restricted to one day during the week based on licence plates, and the day they can drive in Orange Zones are the days they cannot drive in Yellow Zones, at least during the week. So once again they are prevented from traveling to cantons under Yellow Alert. Those in Yellow zones are similarily prevented from driving into Orange Zones based on the plate restrictions.
These magical boundaries somehow prevent the spread of the virus from one canton to another. And if you live in a Yellow Zone and work in an Orange Zone you cannot drive to work but you can take a bus, where apparently the virus cannot reach you. The same bus may take people from the Orange zone into a Yellow zone.
On the weekend, it appears all zones have the same restrictions, despite the wording of the rules. On Saturday in orange zones plates ending in 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 can drive whereas in Yellow zones, 2, 4, 6, 8, 0 cannot drive. Essentially the same thing. On Sunday the even numbers can drive whereas odd number plates cannot drive.
In their attempt to simlify the new rules, all zones are not allowed to drive from 9pm to 5am during the week and from 7pm to 5am on the weekends. Border areas are restricted to driving 5am to 5pm.
This means those in our area of the country can no longer drive after 9pm at least until August 21st. Also businesses can operate from 5am-9pm through the week and 5am to 7pm on the weekend. Restaurants and non essential business will be closed in Orange Zones on August 15th and 16th.
The good news for those in Orange Alert zones, is many businesses that were expecting to be closed for the duration of these new restrictions can now remain open, provided they maintain the 50% restrictions on occupancy at any given time.
We are all hoping these restrictions will be the last, before returning to regular business hours for all, provided they maintain measures of social distancing and avoid crowds.
Currently there are currently 360 people hospitalized, 80 in intensive care and a total of 228 deaths attributed to the virus.