This is how Daniel Salas, Minister of Health, responded to Victoria Hernández, Head of the Economy, after a query about the capacity allowed for the concert of the British band Coldplay, on March 18th and 19th, 2022.
“With the advances that the country has in vaccination coverage of the target population for the last two months of the year, as well as the trend towards the recovery of the capacity of health services for direct care to people, it is considered that for the month of March 2022 the establishments could operate at 100% of their capacity.
“Respecting the requirements and security measures, which are requested for this type of event, as well as compliance with the sector protocol of the Ministry of Culture including verification of the complete vaccination scheme for attendees through the mechanisms established by the Ministry of Health,”Salas responded by letter MS-DM-8220-2021, dated October 15.
In the response sent to Hernández, Salas pointed out that the authorization for the concert will be subject to the epidemiological scenario and the capacity of health services that are in force in the country at that time.In this document, dated October 15, the Minister of Health considers that by March the establishments could have a capacity of 100%. (Credit: Alonso Solano)
Vaccination and hospital recovery
In the note, Salas emphasized that the advances in the coverage of vaccination for Covid-19 of the target population for the months of November and December of this year and the tendency to recover the capacity of health services are the aspects that are taken into consideration.
Data from the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS) indicate that the target population to be vaccinated for Covid-19 is 4,274,344 people, that is, 83% of the total population.Until the previous November 1st, 72.66% of people have at least one dose and 54.20% already have both doses.
In addition to this, he added respect for health security measures and verification of the complete vaccination scheme, through the mechanisms contemplated by the Ministry of Health.
At the time, the Minister of Communication, Agustín Castro, commented at a press conference that the Ministry of Health has a case projection report for March 2022, an aspect that was taken into account to authorize the Coldplay concert.
For November and December, the authorities authorized a series of gradual and gradual measures.From November 16th through the entire month of December, among others, they authorized the return of sports and artistic activities with a capacity of 25% in establishments with the respective permits.The capacity for social activities and hotels expanded at the beginning of November.
Regarding the capacity of event rooms for social activities, a maximum capacity of 100 people was enabled without the need for a vaccination QR code or opting for a capacity of 200 people, all with their respective certificate. In addition, hotels with more than 100 rooms can operate at 100% of their capacity, but common areas (swimming pools, restaurants and gyms) must be kept at 50%.
In high season
The implementation of the QR code will be voluntary as of December 1st: the businesses that apply it will be able to work at 100% and those that will not work with half the capacity.As of January 8th, for its part, the policy will be mandatory.
“The requirement of the code will allow increasing, from December 1st, the level of capacity of art and dance academies, food services, bars, casinos, shops, museums, fitness centers and spas and adventure tourism to a maximum 75%”, the government reported at the time.
In the case of hotels and accommodation establishments, common areas such as swimming pools, restaurants and gyms may also use 75% of their capacity.Religious congregation spaces may exceed the occupation of 500 people and use up to 30% of their capacity.
“As long as the physical space allows the strict application of the distancing between the attendees and requires the vaccination certificate from all its participants. If the limit of 500 attendees is not exceeded, religious activities will not require the vaccination QR code, that is, as it has been so far,” the communication adds.
$ 400 million in losses
The country’s tourism sector asks the authorities to delay until May 2022 the obligatory nature of the full vaccination scheme against Covid-19, because if it is implemented in January, as planned by the government, it will leave losses to the sector by $ 400 million in the high season. which will start next December. So far, the measure will apply to those who want to enter businesses, whether they are Costa Ricans or foreign tourists.
The alarm was launched this Wednesday at a press conference by the National Chamber of Tourism (Canatur) and the Costa Rican Chamber of Hotels (CCH).Rubén Acón, president of Canatur, assured that a survey conducted with hotel businesses established that there are 15% cancellations in reservations for the next few weeks. For now, the losses for the sector add up to $ 2.5 million.
“The obligation to have the scheme and have a QR code is a measure that goes in the opposite direction of the recovery of tourism,” he said.For his part, Javier Pacheco, president of CCH, went further in predicting that if the measure is maintained, the losses in four months would be $ 400 million.”It is a snowball that will not stop and it is not only the cancellations, it is what we also stopped selling,” said Pacheco.