The sanitary vehicle circulation restriction in Costa Rica remains in force throughout this month of August, as established by the Government through a decree published in the Official Gazette. The document indicates that the measure is extended until September 1st, 2021, inclusive, and establishes that the restriction is effective to reduce the mobility of people and, therefore, Covid-19 infections.
“Given the persistence of the complex epidemiological situation due to Covid-19 in the national territory and internationally, the Executive Power is called upon to maintain efforts and strengthen, in accordance with current regulations, prevention measures due to risk in the outbreak advance that, due to the characteristics of the virus, is easy to transmit. This measure makes it possible to reduce people’s exposure to the acquisition and/or transmission of said disease and, given the current scenario, the need to protect the health of the population persists and to address the saturation of health services, especially those intensive care units”, is indicated in the justification of the document.
Effectiveness of the measure
It is argued that the State of the Nation Program carried out a technical study that confirms the effectiveness of the measure in reducing cases of contagion. The published decree amends article 11 of executive decree 42295-MOPT-S and adds that the term of application of the sanitary vehicle restriction extends “until 8:59 p.m. on September 1st, 2021, inclusive” and adds that “the validity of the measure will be reviewed and updated in accordance with the epidemiological behavior of Covid-19”.
The document includes how the restriction will be until August 8th, 2021, according to the announcement made by the Government the previous week and it is omitted to indicate what the schedule and type of application of the measure will be after that date, which should be announced next week.
The decree to extend the sanitary vehicle restriction for the whole of August is signed by the President of the Republic, Carlos Alvarado Quesada, the Minister of Public Works and Transportation (MOPT), Rodolfo Méndez Mata and the Minister of Health, Daniel Salas.
The measure of impediment of circulation by license plate number has been in force since April 2020 and currently governs a (modified) schedule of 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. From that time (10 p.m.), the night restriction begins, which completely prevents circulation, except for justified exceptions. The fine for disrespecting the restriction is ¢ 110 thousand.
Calls for the restrictions to be relaxed
Different voices have come together in recent weeks calling for the restriction to be relaxed, merchants and even the Ombudsman’s Office have asked the Government to make changes to the measure; however, they have not received a positive response.
The President indicated on July 23rd that, if the vaccination rhythm and the reduction in infections were maintained, it would be possible to relax the restrictions for the last quarter of 2021.