The Municipality of Talamanca will evaluate closing beaches to avoid more outbreaks of COVID-19, according to Mayor Rugeli Morales. “My position is that the beaches should be closed. We will discuss it in council. If the agreement is taken, we will declare our beaches closed here in Talamanca until new notice,” Morales said.
For its part, the Cahuita Chamber of Commerce and Tourism indicated that they oppose the closure of the beaches in the canton, since it is the main tourist attraction and would affect the weakened businesses in the area.
“The Chamber of Commerce do not want to close because merchants live from this. If the beaches are open, tourists come and our families eat from there”, said the President of the Chamber, Manfred Corella.
Currently, the canton of Talamanca registers 115 active cases of COVID-19. This past September 10th there were reported 8 new cases of the disease. A person has died in the canton from the virus. In the event of an eventual closure, some of the affected beaches would be Puerto Viejo, Cahuita, Cocles, Manzanillo and Punta Uva, among other tourist destinations.
Corella pointed out that, for local businesses, long weekends like September 15th “mean a lot” and added that they have no major concern about contagion because the behavior of tourists has been “quiet.”
Active tourist season
“Since July 25th, which began to take into account long weekends, Mother’s Day and now this holiday, the hotels are full. What does that mean? That the idea (of prolonged national holidays) was very good,” Corella said. “The other weeks that have not been with a long weekend, have also been full on Saturday and Sunday. We have had it packed every weekend. It has not stopped. We are grateful to God and to all the people who visit us”, he added.
Among the measures, Corella pointed out, the shops have been equipped to offer social distancing, hand washing and attending with personal protective equipment. The cases of contempt for the measures have also been coordinated with the Public Force.
The canton of Limón, for its part, opted to close its beaches on September 9th due to the growth in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. This despite the fact that, with current measures, they could open from 5:00 am to 2:30 pm. Among the beaches that closed with this measure are Playa Bonita, Moín, Cieneguita, Piuta, Westfalia and Isla Uvita beach, according to the official statement of the municipality.