Although, following the COVID-19 problem, the rest of the world started to show signs of life and started encouraging casinos to reopen, Costa Rica opted to take a much more conservative approach.
This past May, the country began to relaunch commercial activity; however, gambling assets were left out of the mix, pending progress in the battle against coronavirus in the country. However, things are slowly beginning to turn around, and Costa Rica will make it possible for casinos to reopen, but things are still not ready to return to normal.
According to an announcement by the Minister of Industry and Commerce of Costa Rica, Victoria Hernández, casinos and bars will be permitted to open their doors again starting this Friday. The gambling assets, however, will only be permitted to function at 50 percent of their usual capacity, as has been seen elsewhere. For the time being, they will not be able to deliver any sales or competitions, and no liquor will be served. In addition , the number of people at each table will have to be reduced to three at gaming tables, and gaming machines will need to be shuffled around so that there are at least six feet between them.
Everybody would have their temperature taken upon arrival at a casino in order to be allowed inside. Casinos would have to improve their cleaning campaigns, continuously disinfecting tables, gaming machines, casino chips and more, and not allowing the use of anything other than disposable plates and cutlery. Explained Hernández: “We have been developing the protocols and we have set criteria that are a little more restrictive on the way a restaurant operates.”
The announcement did not explicitly address the compulsory use of face masks; however, a provision for these to be worn in the middle of last month was introduced by Costa Rica. A total of 81,129 cases of COVID-19 have been seen in the world, of which 1,947 were added to the list between this past Sunday and Monday. The country has reported 987 deaths related to the virus since the outbreak.
In the casinos, there will not be any late-night gaming either. Costa Rica has set strict road travel limits, and all gambling assets will have to shut down at 10 pm during the week and 8 pm on the weekends. The good news, however, is that progress towards rehabilitation is being made, and, according to Hernández, the relaunch of casinos would bring over 2,000 people back to work.
It is no coincidence that now the bars and casinos are being reopened. The country has just declared that it will accept visitors from all U.S. states beginning on November 1st. A staggered launch for tourism has been introduced by Costa Rica, with only U.S. citizens from Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire , New Jersey, New York and Vermont permitted to visit as of September 1. Two weeks later, Maryland, Virginia, Colorado, Massachusetts, DC and Pennsylvania were added , followed at the beginning of October by Arizona, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Wyoming, California and Ohio. On October 15, Florida, Georgia and Texas citizens were then given the green light, with the remaining half of the nation now being included as of the beginning of next month.