Driving Restrictions in Costa Rica

An Updated List of Covid Restrictions in Costa Rica for the Rest of May

An overview of the new Covid restrictions in Costa Rica for the rest of May 2021, announced on May 10, 2021.

As Costa Rica‘s Central Valley restrictions came to an end today, the government set in place a bunch more in response to soaring Covid numbers.

From May 3-9, all nonessential businesses in the GAM (Gran Area Metropolitano) remained closed, while everywhere else in Costa Rica could open. Now, GAM nonessential businesses can reopen. This includes stores, restaurants, bars, casinos, cinemas, gyms, and so on.

According to the government today, new restrictions applying to some of the businesses listed above will kick in from Thursday, May 13 for the remainder of the month.     

These restrictions will apply to the whole country, this time, not just the GAM.

The 9:00 PM-5:00 AM driving restrictions remain in place right now, forcing all businesses (bars, restaurants, etc.) to close by 9:00 PM.

From May 13 to May 31, further restrictions apply in the following circumstances:

Gatherings and events:

Academic and work events will limit their attendance capacities from 300 (right now) to 150 people. All social events must limit their capacities to 30 people (down from 75).

Churches and other religious gathering spots must limit their capacities to 200 people (down from 300). All gatherings must ensure people maintain a distance of at least 1.8 meters apart from each other.

Bars, restaurants, hotels, national parks:

Bars can remain open until 9:00 PM at the latest from May 13 to May 31, but must limit their capacity at 25% instead of the current 50%. Please be aware that this may force many smaller locales to remain closed for the month. It’s unclear whether this new 25% capacity mandate includes restaurants.

Many bars got past the closures and heavier restrictions last year by calling themselves restaurants, so there’s a chance this may happen again, if restaurants are allowed to stick to the current 50% capacity restrictions. Expect some clarity on this in the coming days.

Hotels with over 100 rooms must remain at 75% capacity from May 13-31, while national parks must limit themselves to 50% capacity (with the exception of Poas National Park. Beaches must continue to close at 6:00 PM.

Overall, the current restrictions announced today have received a positive (for want of a better word) from the business community, who’ve been in dialogue with the government of Carlos Alvarado in the past few days. 

These are balanced measures,” said Arturo Rosabal, the Vice President of Costa Rica’s Chamber of Commerce. “The country can no longer endure any more closures.

Driving and transportation (from May 11, NOT May 13… confusing, we know):

From May 11-31, all Costa Rica will return to further restrictions based on the last number of vehicle license plates.

On Mondays, plates ending with 1 and 2 need to stay off the road, Tuesdays 3 and 4, Wednesdays 5/6, Thursdays 7/8, and Fridays 9/0.

These are the same restrictions imposed in the GAM from May 3-9. Again, please note, these restrictions now apply to the whole country, as do the current weekend restrictions (vehicles with plates ending in odd numbers restricted on Saturdays, even-numbers on Sundays).

Existing exemptions to the vehicle restrictions listed above remain in place – meaning these restrictions do not affect rental vehicles, or vehicles driving to/from airports and hotels.

For public transport, buses can not allow any standing passengers for the rest of the month.