Costa Rica has maintained one of the lowest COVID-19 mortality rates in Latin America, and its government has been recognized for its successful management and containment of the Virus. The Ministry of Health and the Costa Rican Tourism Institute have defined preventive sanitary measures, applicable to the operations of tour operators.
In response to these provisions and in accordance with the commitment of CRS Tours to guarantee the safety and well-being of the travelers it represents, the general health standards applicable to travelers are announced in this protocol and will be in use once the operation of tourist activities in Costa Rica will be reactivated.
The provisions contained in this protocol are subject to updates so that it responds at all times to the guidelines established by the Ministry of Health and the Costa Rican Tourism Institute.
Information on health measures
CRS Tours will ensure that all travelers and their wholesale representatives are duly informed of the health protocols under which the providers involved in the reservations of the contracted services operate.
The protocols of the services included in a trip will be sent, via email, together with the confirmation of services and will also be available for the client’s consultation, in the mobile application that contains the details of their trip. If required, CRS Tours may send in advance the health protocols of the services included in a travel offer, during the quotation process.
In preparation for the trip
All clients must have their own Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
t is recommended that customers obtain facemasks or masks with a fixed and stable fit, so that they do not require constant manipulation and to avoid detachment during an activity or transfer. All clients must make sure to bring enough facemasks for the entire stay in Costa Rica.
The traveler must at all times comply with the hand washing and disinfection protocols, social distancing (when required), as well as the cough and sneeze protocols, as a requirement to use the reserved services. In addition, all passengers must comply with the guidelines that providers announce in their health protocols. It is the responsibility of the client to familiarize him/herself with the protocols that have been sent by CRS Tours in order to duly inform the clients prior to the completion of her trip.
The transportation company must guarantee that the vehicles used for the transport of tourists are rigorously disinfected in a timely manner before the passengers board the vehicle.
3.1. During the reception of clients at the airport (transfer in) and before starting the transport services
- The driver must disinfect tourists’ luggage before entering the vehicle.
- The driver must at all times ensure social distancing with customers, maintaining a minimum distance of 1.8 meters between himself and passengers.
- Both the driver and passengers must use their PPE when boarding and leaving the vehicle and whenever required according to the protocols of each transportation provider.
- The passenger must disinfect their hands with alcohol before boarding the vehicle.
- In the event that the driver detects symptoms related to COVID-19 in one or more passengers, he / she may request that they do not board the vehicle and contact the health authorities following the guidelines indicated.
3.2. During the trip
The passenger must comply with the coughing, sneezing and proper handling protocols for their PPE.
At each stop, the driver shall clean and disinfect common use areas, such as: Door handles, both internal and external, passenger grab bars, seats, seat belts, and seat belt release buttons, cup holders, window controls, armrest, interior door trim, restroom, before customers board the vehicle again.
The passenger must wear masks or plastic face protection shields during their journey in ground transportation.
3.3. Transportation unit requirements
Information posters should be placed in visible spaces with guidelines regarding sneezing and coughing protocols, handwashing, alternative forms of greeting etc, in the most common languages of tourists (at least in English and Spanish).
Promote natural ventilation during the tour.
Have cleaning products, disposable towels and gel alcohol in the vehicles for customer use.
Properly and carefully dispose of solid waste from vehicles.
The driver and other personnel must use their PPE at all times.
The transport provider must have additional basic PPE to grant passengers in cases where they have damaged, contaminated or lost their PPE due to accident or carelessness.
All vehicles are exposed to rigorous standards of constant cleaning and disinfection.
National Car Rental has a “Complete Cleaning Commitment” seal that includes all the Costa Rica Ministry of Health (MS) guidelines and is also aligned with the “Travel in the new reality” standards established by the United States Travel Association. This cleaning stamp includes constant training for its employees on cleaning and disinfection of rental vehicles, demarcation of areas for social distancing in their branches and improved cleaning of vehicles including special attention to 20 high contact points.
4.1. During the delivery of the vehicle to the customer
The agent must wear his PPE at all times.
The agent will carry a disinfection kit that includes disposable wipes, disinfectants and alcohol gel to ensure the cleanliness of the contact areas of the vehicle before delivery. (steering wheel / gear lever / door handle / keys)
The keys must be left with the documents that will be delivered to the client, always disinfecting them previously.
A distance of 1.8 meters must be maintained between the car rental agent and the client.
The agent will ask the customer to place the driver’s license and credit card on the vehicle’s hood or other flat surface for data collection and will leave the copy of the contract on the vehicle’s hood or other flat surface for the customer can take it.
4.2. During the return of the vehicle
The agent will carry a disinfection kit, the disinfection kit includes disposable wipes, disinfectants and alcohol gel.
A distance of 1.8 meters must be maintained between the car rental agent and the client.
The agent will ask the client to leave the keys in the driver’s seat.
The agent must clean the high contact areas (steering wheel / gear lever / door handle / keys) with disinfectant before boarding the vehicle.
For the use of common areas around the docks, the service provider must ensure that cleaning and hygiene measures are increased in these spaces, with greater rigor in the surfaces of support and common contact, using alcohol and / or disinfectants.
In addition, the service provider must ensure that they maintain an occupancy level equal to or less than 50% of the capacity of people who commomly share these spaces, in order to comply with the rules of social distancing.
The marinas and tourist docks will establish cleaning and disinfection schedules according to the movements of the staff and the attention of visitors.
The operator and / or concessionaire must facilitate the implementation of the hand disinfection protocol, placing gel alcohol dispensers, as well as cleaning the soles of the shoes and footwear of clients and staff, prior to entering the dock area. A disinfection station must be placed on all the access ramps to the docks, including a carpet with disinfectant, alcohol gel or spray.
Prioritize the entrance to the boat orienting people so that they maintain the minimum distance of 1.8 m, except for groups that qualify under the concept of social bubble.
The captain of the boat must promote that people carry the least amount of personal items and ensure the disinfection of the luggage of tourists, visitors and crew, as well as the equipment or implements to be used, before introducing it to the boats, using a sprayer with an alcohol-based solution or disinfectant.
Promote the placement and maintenance of informative posters on sanitary measures, handwashing, sneezing and coughing protocols and other relevant information, in visible places on board the boats.
The captain of the boat and the crew must carry PPE at all times.
For the disembarkation of people, the captain of the boat, guide or crew personnel must guide the passengers and crew who disembark, maintaining the established distance in the crossing areas, following the social distance of 1.8 m, except those that form part of a social bubble. In addition, they must ensure the disinfection of the luggage of tourists, visitors and crew, as well as the equipment or implements to be used before introducing it to the facilities on land, using an alcohol sprayer or disinfectant.
The excursion provider must disinfect surfaces, waiting areas, rest areas and critical points frequented by collaborators and visitors, such as: dock access ramp, waste containers, trolleys for transporting equipment and products, vehicles for transporting people inside the property where the activity takes place, reception areas and furniture, sanitary services, light switches, handles, locks and handrails, sinks and faucets, among others.
The company could implement the temperature measurement to the customer when registering at the facilities.
Before starting an activity and at the end, all areas and equipment used by collaborators and customers will be cleaned and disinfected.
Activities that have reception – and waiting areas for clients, must ensure all disinfection measures, as well as facilities for hand washing, bathrooms, cleaning and disinfection supplies and labeling with recommendations on official coughing, sneezing protocols. , greetings and any additional information related to preventing the spread of the virus during the activity.
The personnel who, due to their functions, are in close contact with clients, must use protective equipment, especially when due to the nature of the activity it is not possible to maintain social distance. Exception for the use of PPE: activities that require special equipment to carry it out, such as those who need to wear leather gloves, among others.
In activities where by their nature space or use of facilities is shared with other clients, masks or masks are mandatory.
The PPE of the client and that of the personnel in charge of the activity must have a fixed and stable adjustment, so that it does not require constant manipulation and to avoid detachment during the activity.
During meal times and whenever the activity requires so, the mask should be removed with clean hands and stored in a clean bag and then put back on (with the proper handwash protocol before and after).
When the activity offers food such as fruit, snacks or drinks, everything must be properly disinfected or delivered in sealed packages, as appropriate.
Disinfection supplies, such as gel alcohol, should be provided to customers throughout the activity.
Hotels and lodging
7.1. General disposition
The establishment must guarantee access to drinking water, antibacterial soap, alcohol gel, disposable towels or any other authorized implement for drying hands, in common spaces, as well as its replacement and cleaning.
The establishment must intensify cleaning and hygiene measures in public areas and common areas: such as: railings, doors, telephones, push buttons for elevators, counters, among others; as well as making sure that the rest of the areas are also attended and disinfected.
The sneezing and coughing protocols, hand washing and other forms of greeting should be placed in visible spaces for customers, in the most common languages of attention to tourists. (At least in English and Spanish).
In the common or contact areas, gel alcohol, disposable towels or any other authorized implement for hygiene and disinfection must be present.
The staff of the establishment must use PPE, when the hotel protocol so stipulates.
Counters such as those used for check-in must be constantly cleaned and disinfected, taking into account the traffic of people.
7.2. During customer check-in
If there are a considerable number of people at the moment of check in- or check out, the established social distance of 1.8 meters must be ensured, for this the hotel can demarcate the area and inform customers of its correct use.
As a welcome protocol, the hotel staff will inform the guest of the procedures and rules that are being carried out.
At the time of delivery of cards or keys, these must be delivered clean and disinfected. Upon departure, they must be cleaned and disinfected again by the reception staff, before storing them.
Baggage and customer assistance during check-in: When staff provide the customer’s baggage transport service, they must carry authorized PPE, however, whenever possible, it is recommended to avoid contact and handling of guests’ belongings and visitors.
Hotels could discourage the parking assistance service, avoiding the manipulation of customer vehicles by staff.
7.3. Guest rooms
In the rooms, the staff must use PPE (gloves, masks, uniforms, among others) in the cleaning and disinfection process, with special emphasis on the surfaces of greatest contact, such as: remote control, earpiece, telephone dial pad, door handles, closets and drawers, control panel for A / C units, light switches, lamps, coffee maker. In the bathroom sector, the toilet, sink, shower, doors, among others, should be considered.
The hotel must leave at the discretion of the guest, the decision to carry out or not the daily cleaning of their room during the stay.
Restaurants (including hotels)
The establishment must guarantee access to disinfection and handwash supplies, as well as the marking in visible spaces of the protocols for handwashing, sneezing and coughing, other forms of greeting, not touching the face and population at risk.
The establishment will take the necessary measures to guarantee the constant cleaning, disinfection and sanitation of all areas, maximizing the cleaning of tables, chairs, bathrooms and other areas in common use of visitors. In addition, it may establish additional provisions to guarantee social distancing and adequate food handling.
Establishments must limit the capacity of people to at least 50% of the maximum occupancy.
The establishments will have demarcation and limits on cash registers, counters and other spaces where it is necessary to guarantee social distancing.
According to the possibilities of each establishment, the menu will be presented to the customer by digital means, single-use paper menus or menus made of material that can be disinfected after each use.
The establishments will establish distance measures between tables and chairs, to guarantee the maximum possible social distance, however, in the case of the same family nucleus (social bubble), they will be able to sit together up to a maximum of 6 people.
Most establishments will eliminate the buffet bars, however, when this is not the case, diners will not be able to manipulate utensils or containers. Food portions will be served by the staff of the establishment, under strict rules of use of PPE and social distancing. Food must be protected from customer contact. The line for the use of the buffet must ensure social distancing, either by demarcating the waiting places or through a person in charge.
Additional provisions applicable to groups and tour guides
Transportation assigned for groups must be thoroughly disinfected every day at the end of services. In addition to meeting the cleaning and disinfection requirements before and after each service or stop.
During the welcome to the passengers of a group, the guide will make sure to transmit the general information about sanitation measures and the use of PPE required during the trip.
The guide will promptly instruct clients on the importance of handwashing, PPE use, and other health recommendations before using each scheduled service.
The microphone inside the transport unit will be exclusively for the guide.
The guide must have a thorough knowledge of the protocols of the services that will be used during the itinerary and the most current sanitary provisions in force.
The guide must contemplate the appropriate times to ensure the washing of clients’ hands and the disinfection of vehicles during stops on the route.
The guide must ensure at all times that the clients comply with the health protocols, as well as ensure that the establishments, transportation and lodgings apply their health protocols and guarantee the health and well-being of the clients.
The guide should avoid sharing articles with clients, otherwise they must be disinfected before and after use. (for example, in the case of binoculars or telescopes).
The guide must ensure social distancing in the groups he serves.
The guide should avoid contact and manipulation of the tourist’s belongings.
The driver and guide will not be able to share a room in the assigned hotels during an itinerary.
Cases of suspicion or confirmation of COVID-19
In the event that a guide, driver or service partner detects symptoms related to the COVID-19 disease in a client or service personnel, the corresponding health institutions will be contacted, who will give recommendations for the appropriate management of each case.
Any collaborator or client, who presents cold symptoms of COVID-19 and who has been in contact with people who were diagnosed as suspicious, probable or confirmed cases, could be subjected to a medical evaluation if the health institutions of Costa Rica so arrange.