Boy am I glad I live in Costa Rica for this Coronavirus mess we are all in. I can’t tell you enough how proud that I am of the incredibly great job the government of Costa Rica is doing to prevent the spread of this virus. As a legal full time, permanent resident in Costa Rica, there is no other place I would rather be than here in Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste. Honestly, I can say I am so happy I am here, as a legal resident to ride this Coronavirus out. There is no place on earth I would rather be right now. I am happy I have been counseling buyers for years on the benefits of residency in Costa Rica. Many have followed this path. There are many ways to obtain it if you’re interested let’s talk!
As of April 1, 2020, there are 375 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Costa Rica and 2 confirmed deaths. The majority of the cases are located in the central valley around San Jose. Playas del Coco does have 2 confirmed cases.
The government lead by President Carlos Alvarado Quesada, have not sat on their hands. They have put many smart restrictions in place to slow the growth and spread of the virus. Here is the latest information on Covid-19 in Costa Rica.
The borders were shut down to all foreigners back on March 18th, Only citizens, legal residents, and diplomats are allowed in. Those allowed in are required to self-quarantine at home for 14 days. The borders are to be re-opened on April 12, as was originally stated, but this may be extended as well.
All social gatherings and meeting places have been closed down; schools, churches, bars, community centers, casinos even the beloved soccer field and matches, town square and the list goes on and on.
The commercial airline flights have stopped. Last week there were a few carriers doing emergency evacuation of foreigners that wanted to return to their home country. I do not know why anyone would choose that route as they could legally stay in Costa Rica until May 17th with no immigration problems.
The Government, as well as the immigration department, declared that if any resident of Costa Rica wanted to leave, they could without problems, but their residency would be canceled upon return to Costa Rica. The main reason for this is there is a very large legal population of Nicaraguans in Costa Rica and typically during Easter week, many go back to Nicaragua to celebrate the holiday. Unfortunately, the government of Nicaragua is not taking this pandemic seriously and, with fiestas planned for the Easter week, the government of Costa Rica does not want those people returning and possibly infecting more people here.
As of yesterday (April 1st), the government put in place stricter driving restrictions. Again, this is to reduce the spread of the virus. Personally I think this is a great thing. And I practically live in my car! With the coming Easter holiday, Ticos love the beaches, especially those from the Central Valley. They love to come to Guanacaste to celebrate, socialize and party. Well, being a bit selfish, I do not want people coming to an area that has only 2 cases from an area that has the most confirmed cases (45.1% in the Central Valley). Call it what you will but it is a smart move on the part of the government.
Of course, people are allowed on certain days to drive; to go grocery shopping, go to the pharmacy and, of course, if they are not feeling well they can visit a hospital or doctor. There are exceptions to the driving restrictions such as major suppliers and those that are on the front line like police, fireman, hospital workers and so on.
Due to the shutdown, many people are suffering already as it has only been two and a half weeks. This entire area and the local people depend on the foreign visitor and owner, from tour operators to fishing charters, dive operators, rental car companies, hotel workers, restaurants even the massage people on the beach – all are without work now.
Last week I personally took it upon myself to help out seven local families that have become friends and welcomed me into their lives with open arms. Knowing that all my friends had lost their jobs due to this, I went grocery shopping to buy supplies like soap, diapers, beans, rice, can tuna, toothpaste, and of course the proverbial “toilet paper”. Thank God that the good people of Costa Rica are not going crazy like other places hoarding things. I also purchased from the Super Luperon grocery store 25 pre-filled bags of necessities for those that would need them in the coming weeks. The store has set up a special location for these donations. Just purchase the bag and they will distribute when needed. If you would Like to help out, please email me at JOSEPHEMANUELLI@REMAX.NET and you and I can work out some way for you to assist.
I am really impressed with some of the local grocery markets that are open. The local Super Luperon mentioned above, a family-owned and operated store that I shop at has a handwashing station at the door before you enter. They restrict the number of people going in, again social distancing, and they have placed an employee at the front door to make sure people follow the rules. They even sanitize every cart before you use it and then again when you’re done. All the employees are wearing masks and disposable gloves and when checking out there are guidelines in place to keep a distance. They even offer home delivery so people stay home. Hats off to the owners of Super Luperon!!
That’s the latest information on COVID-19. As events related to the COVID-19 pandemic progress here in Costa Rica I will do periodic updates to keep you informed as best I can. Things everyone needs to remember during this time of “crisis”: be smart, be safe, be well and always think about taking your MEDS!
Here is a video I did the day before with a short update:
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