Hello from beautiful Playa Hermosa in Costa Rica. First, I want to say “please be smart, be safe and be well!”. I am hoping that you and everyone you know has not been afflicted with this COVID-19 virus. If you or someone you love has been infected, I am sending my best wishes your way. I wanted to share and give you a small update as to what is going on in our area and the new driving restrictions that have been put in place as of today, April 9, 2020.
Make sure to watch the video at the end:
As we all know (and if you don’t your head must be in the sand) the entire world is facing this pandemic. Some countries are being hit extremely hard by the virus. Some, like Costa Rica, a lot less. Most of this has to do with the actions taken by the government of Costa Rica. I am proud to say I am a permanent resident of this small but well-run county, and happy I am living here.
About 100 years ago, when the Spanish flu killed more than 2,300 people in Costa Rica, the government instituted an emergency action plan. This action plan has been updated many times over the years to reflect current conditions and demographics. Fortunately for the people of Costa Rica, the government reacted fast to limit the spread of the virus by enacting this emergency plan (note the photo – Costa Rica is at the top of the list with the least amount of fatalities).
As of April 8, 2020, the official count from the Ministry of Health is 502 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Costa Rica. Unfortunately, 3 people have died. The majority of the cases are in the Central Valley of Costa Rica, comprised of San Jose, Alajuela, Heredia, and Cartago. This represents over 90% of the confirmed cases. Here in the Playa Hermosa area, especially our county of Carrillo, there have been only 2 confirmed cases.
As of the 6th of April, 2020, the government has extended the travel ban that was put in place on March 18th. They have decided to continue to keep Costa Rica’s borders closed to all nonresidents arriving at airports or through land crossings and seaports until May 1st. Flights coming into Costa Rica are also banned, except emergency airlifts. The main reason is that most of the visitors to Costa Rica come from the United States and Canada where cases are high.
This is Easter week, a huge time of celebration for the people of Costa Rica. Costarricans love coming to the beaches of Guanacaste but the government installed strict driving restrictions. These restrictions started Saturday the 4th and up till the 7th people can drive between 5 AM to 5 PM. Restrictions are based on the last number on the vehicle license plate. Then, starting on Wednesday the 8th, people are only allowed to drive to the grocery store, pharmacy or medical services – again depending on the day that corresponds with the last number on their license plate. Mine happens to be 1. Yesterday was the only day this week I could go grocery shopping, and I did. The main reason the government instigated these driving restrictions was to keep the virus confined to the central valley and not let it spread out to say the Guanacaste region, where all the best beaches of the country are at least in my humble opinion.
As of yesterday, the local police forces handed out over 600 tickets to the ( excuse the expression but I can’t help myself) “IDIOTS” that did not follow the mandated driving restrictions. I want to give a big call out THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to these men and women that are on the front lines fighting this. Along with all the doctors, nurses, hospital workers and anyone that is fighting the fight to help those in need and those infected. You have to give them credit for what they are doing to keep the spread down and protecting you and me ultimately.
Because of the driving restrictions, I will say it looks a bit like a ghost town. Hardly any cars are on the roads. The other day when I went grocery shopping I noticed that there were only a few cars on the road. So, for the most part, it is working! April 9, 2020, almost looks like a day in October when very few people visit Playa Hermosa.
As of today, April 9, 2020, the government has also announced that all persons in Costa Rica that have lost their job, were laid off, are self-employed or have no income because of the shut-down, whether citizen or legal resident, can apply online at www.proteger.go.cr for a financial benefit paid directly to the individual for the next three months.
All I can say, and I have said it before, I am so happy that I decided to relocate to Costa Rica and get my residency. It’s not as hard as you think, and this is a much better place to be right now. Its sure beats sitting at home in say NYC, or Edgewood KY, or Fayetteville AR or any of the other places I lived in the US of A.
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