Published Wednesday, November 18, 2020
Covid-19 orange alert in six cantons
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
The National Emergency Commission announced on Tuesday more changes in the areas declared in Orange Alert due to an increase in patients infected with covid-19.
According to the commission, the new six cantons in Orange Alert are:
• Guatuso, Orotina and Poás in Alajuela Province.
• Abangares in Guanacaste Province.
• Sarapiquí in Heredia Province.
• Esparza in Puntarenas Province.
The updated list of all cantons under Orange Alert or Yellow Alert can be read on the government's website under Covid-19/Alerta/Canton.
Ban on driving. On weekdays, the ban on driving rules continues from Monday through Friday, where driving is allowed from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m. The vehicles banned are based on the last number of the vehicle plate number, as follows:
• Monday: plates banned end in 1 or 2.
• Tuesday: plates banned end in 3 or 4.
• Wednesday: plates banned end in 5 or 6.
• Thursday: plates banned end in 7 or 8.
• Friday: plates banned end in 9 or 0.
On weekends, Saturdays and Sundays, regardless of the plate number, all vehicles will be able to travel from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. nationwide.
Readers can verify the updated ban on driving by visiting the government website Covid-19/Alerta/Vehicular.
Concerning the penalties for breaking the ban-on-driving rule, the deputies in Congress approved a reduction in fines to approximately $180.
The approved bill prohibits traffic officials from seizing vehicle plates or even vehicles, in addition to no longer reducing penalty points on the driving license of the driver.
Last week mayors of the cantons of Escazú and Santa Ana in San José Province, together with those of Carrillo, Liberia, Santa Cruz and Nandayure in Guanacaste Province, presented an appeal against the government's decision to maintain the ban-on-driving rule.
On behalf of the group, Arnoldo Barahona, mayor of Escazu, stated that this rule of restricting the free movement of a vehicle is a clear infringement of the order of the judge who last week ordered the immediate suspension of the ban on the ban-on-driving rule.
According to José Pablo Badilla, the legal representative of the mayors, all drivers who are arrested and fined by the police for breaking the ban-on-driving rule must file a complaint and also warn the traffic officer that a fine is a wrongful act due to the government order halting fines for breaking the driving rule.
The mayors presented the lawsuit against the government that, according to Barahona, almost half of the country's mayors agree.
This month the Contentious Administrative Court judge suspended the ban-on-driving rule based on the conclusion the government order could generate more infections of covid-19.
The judge considered that by preventing people from using their own car, they are forced to use public transportation, where it is impossible to maintain a distance of 1.8 meters with other people.
Then, the government, through the General Attorney, presented an appeal against the order of a judge's decision.
According to the judge's conclusion, the ban-on-driving rule is not an effective measure to contain or prevent contagion of covid-19. They said that if what it intended in avoiding contact with infected people with a ban-on-driving rule, it actually caused the opposite. It is the conglomeration in public services such as buses or taxis which don’t enforce practicing social distancing of 1.8 meters that is recommended by the Ministry of Health, which cannot be maintained.
The ban-on-driving rule, imposed since March, has the goal of "contributing to the reduction of the spread of the covid-19 pandemic," according to the government.
The Ministry of Health recommends for managers or business representatives with inquiries about the ban on driving during the weekday, business restrictions and guidelines to directly call them at (506) 2223-0333.
A.M. Costa Rica urges readers to share this alert with their contacts.
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