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Remote Work, Flexible Working Hours and Vehicular Restrictions: Part of Actions Taken due to Covid-19

MARCH 30th 2020

On March 6th, the Ministry of Health of Costa Rica confirmed the first positive case of Covid-19 in the country. Several guidelines were announced from then on, summarized below:

1. Work from Home
The public and private sectors must follow the guidelines of applying remote work to 50% of their sites’ capacity if their work allows them to. 

The Ministry of Health will send health inspectors to all the free trade zone parks to confirm that each company has applied this instruction.  

These guidelines are to reduce the presence of collaborators in each facility to decrease the impact of COVID-19 in the country. Those companies which do not follow the sanitary order are exposed to a full shut down of their operations.

2. Regulations for Assets of Free Zone Regime Companies
This includes new dispositions regarding the removal of equipment (desktop computers and related) from the Free Trade Zone Regime for the implementation of work-from-home practices.  

3. Law for Flexible Working Hours
New legislation opens the possibility to reduce the number of hours at work or provide more flexible working hours. 

4. Suspension of Labor Contracts
The Government enabled a new legal regulation that allows companies to request changes in the labor contracts to decrease the impact of the COVID-19 health emergency. 

5. Guidelines for Transportation Services
The Ministry of Transportations will regulate the number of passengers who travel on buses and trains without exceeding the number of available seats. Passengers are not allowed to travel standing up.

6. Restrictions for Foreigners with Residency Permits to Leave the Country
The Government of Costa Rica will withdraw the immigration status of those foreign individuals who are legal residents in the country and decide to leave Costa Rica during the restriction period from March 24 to April 12, 2020. This is in accordance with article 61 of the country’s Immigration Law.
This measure includes foreign applicants that have their immigration processes approved and are waiting for their final documentation, as well as for all foreigners who wait for their immigration processes to be approved. 

7. Vehicular Restriction at Night 
Since March 24th, vehicular transit has been restricted on all roads from 10:00 pm to 5:00 am from Monday to Thursday and from 8:00 pm to 5:00 am from Friday to Sunday. This includes all vehicles except the media, health workers, emergency personnel, workers with a signed letter confirming that they are traveling during working hours, cargo, and others.