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We at CRIE would like to assure all our clients that we remain open for business and we are here for you. We created this resource page that we will maintain and keep updated for your benefit during this time. If you have any questions please contact us and we’d be glad to help.

Updated: August 5, 2020
Please note that all information on this page is subject to change at any time. The situation changes on a daily basis.

What Should I Do?

The best thing you can do for yourself and everyone around you is to stay home and stay healthy. This is especially true for those who are at risk: the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions. Please stay at home if you are elderly or otherwise at risk.

If you go out, take precautions to keep your distance from others (at least 2 meters when possible), avoid crowds, wear a mask or face covering where necessary, and be sure to wash your hands with soap and water when you return. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water is not available.

Stay healthy! Eating a good diet, doing physical activity, looking after your mental health and that of others can make a big difference in preventing the saturation of medical facilities, whether for it is for COVID-19 or other illnesses. Most COVID-19 hospitalizations are due to co-morbidities that can be greatly improved with a healthy lifestyle.

Read more about how you should protect yourself and some other commonly asked questions at the World Health Organization’s Q&A on coronaviruses (COVID-19).

Home Delivery Services

Fortunately, Costa Rica has a wide range of delivery services available, especially in the Greater Metropolitan Area of San José, such as:

Many local farmer’s markets such as Feria Verde and Buena Tierra are also offering weekly delivery and pickup of fresh local produce. Be sure to contact your local store to see if they deliver.

Temporary Measures: ORANGE ALERT Zones

As of this writing, the Costa Rican authorities have taken steps to prevent the spread of the virus with a series of temporary measures in ORANGE ALERT Zones, applicable from August 1 to 30.

For ORANGE ALERT zones, the month of August has been split into 2 parts: an Opening Phase and a Closing Phase.

  • OPEN in ORANGE ALERT zones, Opening Phase, August 1-9 and 22-30:
    • Supermarkets, mini-markets, corner stores.
    • Bakeries, butcher shops, vegetable stands.
    • Agricultural and veterinary supply shops, personal care shops.
    • Laundry/drycleaning, hardware stores, locksmiths, glass shops.
    • Riteve (RTV), auto repair, equipment and machinery, oil and lube shops, auto parts stores.
    • Banks and financial services.
    • National parks are open, with entry tickets available online or at the park entrance (cards only, no cash), at 50% capacity.
    • Barber shops, beauty salons, auto parts stores, non-contact sporting facilities and art academies, gyms, swim schools and pay parking lots.
    • Restaurants and cafés can be open until 5pm, with takeout and delivery available outside those hours.
    • Event halls with a maximum of 30 people / 50% capacity (whichever is lower).
    • Most shops, along with museums, cinemas and theaters (with the exception of Teatro Nacional and Teatro Mélico Salazar).
    • Churches can be open, with a capacity restriction.
    • Funeral homes and chapels for vigils.
    • Medical centers, veterinarian clinics, pharmacies.
    • Farmer’s markets, with 5am-8:30am reserved for those over 65.
    • Waste collection, fuel stations
    • Lottery sales (JPS), pay parking lots/garages.
    • Essential social programs supporting children and support centers for vulnerable populations.
    • Hotels (100% room capacity, with 50% capacity in common areas), motels.
    • Workplaces not open to the public (offices, call centers, factories) can be open, but work from home is encouraged where possible.
    • Drive-through and delivery services of any kind.
    • Please see the complete list here (in Spanish).
  • Vehicle Restriction in ORANGE ALERT Zones, Opening Phase, August 1-9 and 22-30:
    • Vehicles can be on the road 5:00am to 5:00pm.
    • Vehicles with plate numbers ending in 1 and 2 will NOT be allowed on the road on Mondays.
    • Vehicles with plate numbers ending in 3 and 4 will NOT be allowed on the road on Tuesdays.
    • Vehicles with plate numbers ending in 5 and 6 will NOT be allowed on the road on Wednesdays.
    • Vehicles with plate numbers ending in 7 and 8 will NOT be allowed on the road on Thursdays.
    • Vehicles with plate numbers ending in 9 and 0 will NOT be allowed on the road on Fridays.
    • Vehicles with plate numbers ending in 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 will be allowed on the road on Saturdays to go to establishments that are open on weekends.
    • Vehicles with plate numbers ending in 0, 2, 4, 6, and 8 will be allowed on the road on Sundays to go to establishments that are open on weekends.
    • A certain number of exceptions have been made for essential purposes such as going to and from work, official use, delivery services, emergencies and more. Please see here for details (in Spanish).
    • Certain areas near the international border are subject to an increased vehicular restriction (all cars off the road from 5:00pm to 5:00am with certain essential exceptions) and river navigation restriction.
  • OPEN in ORANGE ALERT zones, Closing Phase, August 10-21:
    • Supermarkets, mini-markets, corner stores. These stores may only sell food, drinks, cleaning and personal care supplies, and basic needs.
    • Bakeries, butcher shops, vegetable stands.
    • Agricultural and veterinary supply shops, personal care shops.
    • Laundry/drycleaning, hardware stores, locksmiths, glass shops.
    • Riteve (RTV), auto repair, equipment and machinery, oil and lube shops, auto parts stores.
    • Banks and financial services.
    • Funeral homes and chapels for vigils.
    • Medical centers, veterinarian clinics, pharmacies.
    • Farmer’s markets, with 5am-8:30am reserved for those over 65.
    • Waste collection, fuel stations
    • Lottery sales (JPS), pay parking lots/garages.
    • Essential social programs supporting children and support centers for vulnerable populations.
    • Hotels (50% capacity), motels.
    • Workplaces not open to the public (offices, call centers, factories) can be open, but work from home is encouraged where possible.
    • Drive-through and delivery services of any kind, and takeout at restaurants.
    • All other businesses must be closed.
    • Please see the complete list here (in Spanish).
  • Vehicle Restriction in ORANGE ALERT Zones, Closing Phase, August 10 to 21:
    • ONLY vehicles with plate numbers ending in 1 and 2 will be allowed on the road on Mondays.
    • ONLY vehicles with plate numbers ending in 3 and 4 will be allowed on the road on Tuesdays.
    • ONLY vehicles with plate numbers ending in 5 and 6 will be allowed on the road on Wednesdays.
    • ONLY vehicles with plate numbers ending in 7 and 8 will be allowed on the road on Thursdays.
    • ONLY vehicles with plate numbers ending in 9 and 0 will be allowed on the road on Fridays.
    • Vehicles with plate numbers ending in 0, 2, 4, 6, and 8 will be allowed on the road on Saturdays to go to establishments that are open on weekends.
    • Vehicles with plate numbers ending in 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 will be allowed on the road on Sundays to go to establishments that are open on weekends.
    • A certain number of exceptions have been made for essential purposes such as going to and from work, official use, delivery services, emergencies and more. Please see here for details (in Spanish).
    • Certain areas near the international border are subject to an increased vehicular restriction (all cars off the road from 5:00pm to 5:00am with certain essential exceptions) and river navigation restriction.
  • The following sectors of the country are in ORANGE ALERT due to COVID-19 community transmission, as of August 5:
    • San José: Alajuelita, Aserrí, Curridabat, Desamparados (except the districts of Frailes and San Cristóbal), Escazú, Goicoechea, Montes de Oca, Moravia, San José, Santa Ana, Tibás, and Vázquez de Coronado.
    • Alajuela: Alajuela (except the district of Sarapiquí) and Naranjo.
    • Cartago: La Unión.
    • Heredia: Barva, Flores, Heredia, San Isidro, San Pablo, and Santo Domingo.
    • Guanacaste: NONE
    • Puntarenas: Corredores, the districts of Agua Buena and Sabalito in Coto Brus, the Pavón district in Golfito, and the districts of Barranca and Chacarita in Puntarenas.
    • Limón: NONE

Temporary Measures: YELLOW ALERT Zones

YELLOW ALERT zones are all areas of Costa Rica not subject to ORANGE ALERT as listed above.

  • OPEN in YELLOW ALERT zones (Phase 3 Reopening):
    • Government agency offices, banks, judicial courts, supermarkets, pharmacies, medical centers, corner stores, bakeries, butchers, produce shops, agricultural supply shops, veterinarians, funeral homes, hardware stores, locksmiths, vehicle repair shops, oil and lube shops can be open 7 days a week.
    • Hotels can be open 7 days a week at 100% capacity – with common areas (restaurant, gym, pool) at 50% occupancy.
    • Workplaces not open to the public (offices, call centers, factories) can be open, but work from home is encouraged where possible.
    • National parks are open, with entry tickets available online or at the park entrance (cards only, no cash), at 50% capacity.
    • Barber shops, beauty salons, auto parts stores, non-contact sporting facilities and art academies, gyms, swim schools and pay parking lots can be open weekdays until 10pm and weekends until 7pm.
    • Restaurants and cafés can be open weekdays until 10pm and weekends until 7pm, with takeout and delivery available outside those hours.
    • Event halls with a maximum of 30 people / 50% capacity (whichever is lower) can be open weekdays until 10pm and weekends until 7pm.
    • Most shops, along with museums, cinemas and theaters (with the exception of Teatro Nacional and Teatro Mélico Salazar) can be open weekdays until 10pm and weekends until 7pm.
    • Beaches are open 7 days a week from 5am-9:30am.
    • Churches can be open, with a capacity restriction.
    • Please see the complete list here (in Spanish).
  • Vehicle Restriction in YELLOW ALERT Zones:
    • Vehicles can be on the road 5:00am to 10:00pm on weekdays, and 5:00am to 7:00pm on weekends.
    • Vehicles with plate numbers ending in 1 and 2 will NOT be allowed on the road on Mondays.
    • Vehicles with plate numbers ending in 3 and 4 will NOT be allowed on the road on Tuesdays.
    • Vehicles with plate numbers ending in 5 and 6 will NOT be allowed on the road on Wednesdays.
    • Vehicles with plate numbers ending in 7 and 8 will NOT be allowed on the road on Thursdays.
    • Vehicles with plate numbers ending in 9 and 0 will NOT be allowed on the road on Fridays.
    • Vehicles with plate numbers ending in 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 will be allowed on the road on Saturdays to go to establishments that are open on weekends.
    • Vehicles with plate numbers ending in 0, 2, 4, 6, and 8 will be allowed on the road on Sundays to go to establishments that are open on weekends.
    • A certain number of exceptions have been made for essential purposes such as going to and from work, official use, delivery services, emergencies and more. Please see here for details (in Spanish).

Mandatory Mask, Face Shield or Face Covering

    • Any individual serving the public, and in the case of restaurants it must be a face mask. If there are physical barriers (such as plexiglass) between the individual and the public, the person is exempt from such usage.
    • Clients and drivers in any public transport such as buses or taxis, as well as at bus stops.
    • Clients at supermarkets, banks, and shops.
    • All persons at places of worship, churchgoers and officiators alike.
    • Cinemas and theaters.
    • Visitors to health centers, jails, prisons, substance abuse centers and centers that work with high risk populations.
    • Anyone taking care of the elderly and those with disabilities, especially at shelters, care homes and other such centers.
    • Persons who work at call centers who are sharing cubicles or open work spaces.
    • As of July 20, masks, face shields or face coverings are required in all enclosed spaces, except those where food is consumed. This does not include private homes.

Tourists and Foreign Residents

  • As of August 1, Foreign tourists are allowed to enter Costa Rica, provided they arrive from one of the approved countries (Canada, United Kingdom, EU/EEA/CH), purchase an approved travel insurance, show proof of a negative rt-PCR test taken within 48 hours of entry, and complete an epidemiological form online. Read here for full Q&A (in Spanish).
  • Foreign tourists who are in the country and who have entered on or after December 17, 2019, have their tourist visa automatically extended until November 18.
  • Foreign tourists may drive on their foreign driver’s license until November 18. Please read the press release (in Spanish) — and print a copy to keep in your car! Traffic officers may not be aware of this decree.
  • Costa Rican citizens and foreign residents may enter the country, but will be ordered to quarantine at home for 14 days. Quarantine violators are subject to large fines and potential criminal prosecution.
  • Any foreign residents who left Costa Rica AFTER March 25 will not be allowed to return to Costa Rica. Any foreign resident found entering illegally due to this restriction will have their residence status revoked. One exception, as of August 1, is that they enter from one of the approved countries. They will not be required to provide a negative rt-PCR test or purchase insurance, but they will be ordered to quarantine at home for 14 days. Read here for full Q&A (in Spanish).

What Do I Do If I Suspect I Have COVID-19?

If you have been in close contact with someone who was confirmed to have COVID-19, or you are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection, stay home and call 1322 first for information and instructions.

If it’s an emergency (for example, if you’re having trouble breathing) call 9-1-1.

Where to Get Up to Date Information About COVID-19 in Costa Rica

Here are the most authoritative and up-to-date sources of information for the COVID-19 outbreak in Costa Rica:

Ministerio de Salud. We suggest following their Facebook page for updates.
Casa Presidencial. We suggest following their Facebook page for updates.
Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS). We suggest following their Facebook page for updates.

Beware of Misinformation! Many of us are passing around misinformation on social media and text messages. This may be well-intentioned, but beware any information without references is totally suspect and may hurt you and others!

What Services Are Still Available from CRIE?

Migración offices are mostly closed for the time being, which means new applications are no longer accepted. However, there are some services that we can provide at CRIE as of this writing:

  • Citizenships / Naturalizations
  • CCSS registration
  • Bank account opening
  • Criminal record checks from USA and Canada
  • Renewals of most residencies
  • Legal services through our network of independent attorneys and public notaries

Please contact us for assistance or more information.

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