Should the international airports in Costa Rica be opened? Well after almost four months of airports being closed in Costa Rica because of COVID-19, It is time to start allowing foreign visitors in. This blog might raise some arguments, but that is not my intent. My intent is to bring awareness to the suffering of the local Ticos in Guanacaste, not the Ex-pats living here.
I am not in any way slamming the government of Costa Rica. Actually, I am very proud of the way the Minister of Health, Daniel Salas, and the President, Carlos Alvarado, have handled the situation – putting restrictions in place to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Being a full-time permanent resident and tax-paying contributor, I have the right to speak my mind. Not that my opinion is right or wrong, it is just my opinion.
Some people reading this will say, “this guy is nuts”, or “he does not know what he is talking about, have you seen the news?”, “Has he read the science?” “Oh, he is realtor all he cares about is making a sale”! I have read lots of the “science” being these decisions and it is contradictory, to say the least. One week they say to use a mask the next week don’t use a mask. Cancel all social gatherings, but allow people to congregate and protest? Or quarantine in your house, but it is ok to get on a packed bus to go to the doctor. Where is the science in that?
I am not writing this to cause an uproar, I am actually writing this for the many poor locals in Guanacaste that are suffering beyond belief because of the lack of economic activity in the area. I have many local friends that are out of work because the hotel they work at is closed. Other friends work for tour operators, and others are cooks in restaurants, all of which are closed. If you happen to find it in your heart, there are many associations in the Guanacaste area that are helping raise funds to purchase food and basic supplies for those in need. Please email me at JosephEmnauelli@remax.net and I will put you in direct contact with them.
Tourism is the number one contributor to the local economy in most of Guanacaste. When you cut off tourism you might as well cut off people’s heads. Sounds extreme right? Well, think about going to bed hungry every night because you can’t make a buck to put food in your kids’ mouth – can’t even pay your rent – then where may you end up? On the streets? Stop and think about that for a minute while you read this on your laptop in the comfort of your home, or on your expensive smartphone!
Having said that, it is time to open the airports and let foreign visitors arrive. Allow those that are property owners, that are paying taxes to arrive and enjoy Costa Rica. Allow first-time visitors to come and see the wonders of Costa Rica and the beautiful warm and welcoming people. Of course, all of this with strict protocols that must be in place to prevent the ongoing spread of the virus. For example: have all those that want to come to Costa Rica prove they are virus-free by having certified test results before even getting on a plane. Make this a requirement, just like the need to have a passport. It is not that hard. The airlines are already checking for many things before you get on the plane so why not one more thing.
A lot of people say, “well opening up the airports will bring more cases of COVID-19 to Costa Rica, we need to protect the older population”. True the older population is at risk – I know, I fall into that category – but do these older persons still work? No. 90% of the time it is the younger Ticos working, being the breadwinner for the family – including putting food on the table for the elderly. So, when you take away the younger person’s ability to work guess who else suffers; or dies from potentially catching the virus, or dies from starvation? Which would you choose?
I’ve read a lot of posts on social media saying it is time to open the airports and then there are those that are opposed as to it well. Usually, the ones that are opposed are older, more financially secure ex-pats who have retired in Costa Rica or local Ticos that have government jobs and have not missed a paycheck. I am going to touch on one thing that not one person can argue with; once a person is born, they are going to die someday. Unfortunately, it is part of the life cycle. So, let’s not have more people die unnecessarily from something that can be controlled. Open the airports!
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