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The president of the Central American nation of Costa Rica declared the end to the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine mandate, noting that forcing the shot on Costa Ricans was “against the law.”

“As of today, the vaccines are not mandatory – and therefore, any action taken against anyone who does not want to be vaccinated is an action that is against the law,” said newly elected Costa Rican President Rodrigo Chaves Robles during an Aug. 3 press conference.

Chaves is vaccinated against COVID-19, but has maintained his position that “people have freedom of choice.”

“As I said during my campaign: Costa Rica’s people are not cattle that you beat with a piece of wood and force to get vaccinated,” said the president, who was elected in April.

 

Unfortunately Álvaro Ramos president of the CCSS and Roberto Cervantes, manager of the CCSS, concluded that vaccination against covid-19 remains mandatory for employees of the institution despite the decree issued by President  Rodrigo Chaves. The CCSS has not been formally informed [that the decree establishing mandatory vaccination has been repealed], but we will make a legal study of the implications of what was communicated last Wednesday."

Dr. Leandra Abarca, coordinator of the CCSS Immunization Program, and it's representative in the CNVE, stated at the ordinary session of the technical committee held on June 30."Vaccination against COVID-19 is not mandatory in the country, except for minors, the public sector and the front line, those are the three groups that are now in the mandatory decree," he assured.

Even Dr. Rodrigo Marín, from Health Surveillance of the Ministry of Health, agreed that "we are not forcing 70% of people, because by law the decree (of mandatory vaccination) is not like that," he said in the moment when he defended his motion to reduce the obligation for front-line officials.

On other occasions, such as last April, during the discussion of the Vaccine Commission on coverage with these doses in the country, the then Minister of Health, Daniel Salas, stated that “it is known that (vaccination) is not mandatory. for the population, except for specific groups”.

While not mandatory during the previous government, the authorities that led the health emergency imposed strategies such as the vaccination certificate through a QR code, as a requirement to enter commercial establishments and massive activities. Hence while not mandatory, it imposed restrictions on anyone who was unable to show a vaccination certificate.

This was recognized by the doctor at the meeting, where he also asserted that eliminating this requirement brought down vaccination coverage with the third dose, among the population where inoculation is voluntary.

So for now yes vaccines are not mandatory, with the exceptions previously stated. Clearly the President is working to eliminate the mandatory status for all.

 

 

 

The Government of Costa Rica announced that businesses and events or activities that involve large groups, who voluntarily request the COVID-19 vaccination QR code from customers, will be able to expand their capacity. This has now been extended until February 7th.

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The government released new rules for driving restrictions beginning next week.

As of December 20 and until January 15, the new vehicle restriction will take effect at midnight and will last until 5:00 am.

During this week and on the weekend, the restriction will remain at 11:00 pm.

As a bonus December 25th and January 1st you can be driving after midnight as the restrictions are removed for those days. We assume this means from 12:01 am Dec 25th until 12 midnight and the same for New Years Day.

Apparently the virus will not affect you during those days. Good news in any case. Daytime restrictions remain in place in Central San Jose.

Restriccion diciembre

 

Establishments with a health permit for the operation of business may operate from Monday to Sunday between 5:00 am and 12:00 am, beginning December20th, in accordance with the vehicle restriction. The reality is that people may not be driving after midnight so they cannot be in a bar or restaurant until midnight unless they are walking. Still an improvement ad long awaited change.

Many businesses were hoping for the complete removal of driving restrictions since cases of Covid-19 in Costa Rica have been down for 3 days now and there have been no deaths associated with the virus.

Also announced that public buses may be able to operate at 100% capacity beginning in January.

It appears the Health Ministry believes people are safer on buses than in Church or in your car after midnight. Hopefully it is an indication that other restrictions will soon be removed.

Play safe.

 

The application of the QR code announced by the Government to verify complete vaccination status against covid-19 in Costa Rica was suspended due to a very provisional precautionary measure requested by businessmen in the tourism sector, confirmed this Saturday the National Chamber of Tourism (Canatur).

This means that its application is frozen while the matter is resolved on the merits in the Dispute Tribunal.

Given that the QR code is a mandatory requirement made known through the presidential house communiqué number CP-1273-2021 dated October 22, 2021, the judge ordered, in a precautionary manner, to order the President of the Republic, the Minister of Health, the Minister of Science, Innovation, Technology and Telecommunications, the Costa Rican Social Security Fund and the Costa Rican Electricity Institute, "that they refrain from carrying out any conduct aimed at the implementation of the QR Code, at a commercial, social, labor, tourist, recreational and / or any other level, until the present matter is resolved by the merits, in order to safeguard the precautionary judicial protection adopted in this resolution," says the document signed by the processing judge Alex Rojas Ortega.

Roberts Strachan, former VP of the the Costa Rica Tourism Institute (ICT) alleged that since they were not consulted about the QR code requirement, there was a strong impact on cancellations. He alleged that between October 15 and November 5 there were more than $3 million in cancellations with very few companies in the sector. He added that, according to the ICT, 47% of the tourist visits received this year were from unvaccinated people.

It is unclear as to how long it will take to resolve or how this will impact those with plans to visit Costa Rica in the new year.

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