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Published Monday, July 13, 2020

Business allowed in
the Orange Alert zones

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The government ordered Orange Alert in the Greater Metropolitan Area, GAM by its acronym in Spanish, and various rural areas as a contingency measure of the increase in cases of covid-19 in the country.

The list of zones where the alert applies can be found in the article, “More changes on restrictions to be released on Sunday.”

The vast majority of businesses will not be able to operate during the days of the week, from today to Friday July 17. The only businesses allowed to open to the public are those that carry out activities classified as essential.

The so-called “essential activities” were established by the Ministry of Health.

For example, public transportation is considered an essential activity. They are allowed to operate with 20% of its maximum capacity. The red taxis have no restrictions. The transportation of special services for workers of companies and public institutions is also allowed.

Other essential activities allowed to continue operating are: agriculture, fishing, food industry, sale of medical devices and their parts, production of chemical substances and pharmaceutical products, information and communication technology services. There are also authorized companies for the supply chains of materials, and the companies that provide services and equipment for the previously mentioned activities.

Essential businesses also include: supermarkets, suppliers, grocery stores, mini-supermarkets and so-called pulperias. Only the sale of food, beverages, groceries, cleaning and hygiene supplies and basic necessities are allowed. The operations of bakeries, butchers, greengrocers, pharmacies and medical centers are also allowed.

Home delivery services for food, pharmacy, veterinary, hardware and locksmiths are allowed to stay open for business under the Orange Alert.

The companies that provide agricultural, veterinary and hygiene supplies, are allowed.

A more morbid essential business allowed to function during Orange Alert are funeral homes.

Although schools are not yet open, organizations and centers for the care of children and people in vulnerable conditions will remain open.

Because the country has also started a slow reopen to help tourism, hotels will remain open, but with exceptions to who they service:

• Only those working as government officials or public services such as banks, transportation of securities, communications, electricity can stay in hotels.

• And those working as distributors of merchandise, food items, medicines, agricultural or veterinary supplies can book rooms.

Regarding public service and government institutions, the Orange Alert orders to keep the minimum number of workers in offices and increase the use of teleworking, or so-called telecommuting.

In the case of government workers who, for some reason, will not continue telecommuting, vacation days must be applied during this week.

Only essential operational services and emergency response services should be maintained.

During the weekend, Saturday July 18 and Sunday July 19, the continuity of operations and attention to the public are allowed only in supermarkets, pharmacies, medical centers, grocery stores, suppliers, bakeries, butchers, greengrocers, home service, home food service, supplies agricultural, veterinary, hygiene products, banks and funeral homes.

So-called farmer's fairs, or ferias del agricultor vegetable markets, are allowed to open from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. These must open a special schedule for older adults from 5 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.

"The goal of the closure measures is to recover the trace of the infections, that is not going to be achieved immediately, but what we are looking for is to have the tracking (referring to the covid-19 infections) to manage the health crisis," said Daniel Salas, Health Minister.

The rest of the country will remain on Yellow Alert restrictions. The restrictions on business and ban driving schedule can be reached at the article “Restrictions for Yellow Alert zones”.

What other businesses should be considered essential? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to


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