Most Covid restrictions in Costa Rica are now consigned to history. Here’s a quick rundown of what that means for people on the ground and for travelers entering the country.
Nope, it’s not an April Fools… today is first day of a restriction-free Costa Rica! They all ended yesterday as the clock hit midnight. Well… most Covid restrictions ended yesterday. The most destructive ones ended. Yes, effective today, Costa Rica is a long way towards getting back to normal.
It’s been a gradual rollback since the government announcement in February that restrictions were on the way out.
On March 7, the vehicular restrictions stopped, effectively ending what was, in all but name, a curfew. People could drive their cars again whenever they wanted, allowing businesses to close whenever they wanted. That was the big first step.
Today the big second step gets taken, when businesses can drop their capacity requirements and operate in the same way they did pre-March 2020. Before today, businesses could only operate at a 50% customer capacity. Unless they participated in discrimination and barred non or partially-vaccinated customers, of course. If they did that, they could operate at 100% capacity.
But that’s all gone now. Today, businesses can operate at 100% capacity until whenever they want. Back to normal.
Most Costa Rica Covid restrictions to be phased out in March, with the QR code being scrapped April 1. During March, businesses can opt to use the QR code if they want, but from April 1, they can operate at full capacity regardless of vaccination status. https://t.co/DnbSddJFnG
— Central America Living (@VidaAmerica) February 23, 2022
That’s the situation on the ground in the country. For travelers entering Costa Rica, restrictions have also been completely rolled back.
Again, as with the internal restrictions, it was a gradual rollback.
Costa Rican citizens and legal residents stopped having to fill in the online health pass to enter the country on March 7 (although in practice, this stopped a while before). Now, that’s for tourists, too.
Effective today, if you’re a tourist entering Costa Rica, nobody’s going to ask you to fill in the online health pass to prove you have insurance or you’re vaccinated. You can simply enter the country as you did before the pandemic.
Great news all round.
A partir de hoy, 1 de abril, se elimina la restricción de aforos en todos los establecimientos con permiso sanitario de funcionamiento. Esta apertura sostenida y gradual es resultado de un país comprometido con la salud pública. @CCSSdeCostaRica pic.twitter.com/1PWRQJLoda
— Carlos Alvarado Quesada (@CarlosAlvQ) April 1, 2022
It’s worth pointing out that some restrictions will remain, and look set to do so for the time being.
The mandatory use of masks will continue in all public indoor spaces, and businesses will still have to provide hand washing stations to their customers, or at least alcohol gel or something like that before they enter.
Costa Rica will also continue with its vaccination program. Vaccines are still mandatory for public sector workers, and Costa Rica remains one of the only countries in the world mandating Covid vaccines for children.
As it stands today, some 77 percent of people in Costa Rica are fully-vaccinated. That’s highest rate in Central America.
Costa Rica joins a growing number of countries all over the world that has dropped its entry restrictions for travelers. Most European countries no longer have restrictions or are in the process of removing them. In Central America, it joins El Salvador -which eliminated all its restrictions in November and began promoting a healthy lifestyle as a way to avoid a bad Covid outcome – and Belize, who is scrapping all its internal restrictions today.