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The U.S. Embassy has launched a new quarterly newsletter that will continue to keep the U.S. citizen community in Costa Rica informed on key topics - not just COVID-19 updates.

Que Pasa Grecia will publish these updates as they become available.

If you are registered with the Embassy Step-Program already, you will be receiving this newsletter automatically.

US Embassy - Quarterly Newsletter
San Jose, Costa Rica

Message for U.S. Citizens: U.S. Embassy San Jose Quarterly Newsletter June 2022 

VOTING: Did you know you can vote in U.S. elections from anywhere in the world?  Celebrate democracy this Fourth of July by taking the necessary steps to vote in the 2022 U.S. elections!  If you are a U.S. citizen living abroad, registering to vote and submitting a ballot is fast and easy.  For more information, please go to https://cr.usembassy.gov/registering-to-vote/.  You can vote from anywhere in two simple steps:  
STEP 1: Fill out the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) at FVAP.gov to register and request your ballot.                
WHEN? Send it to your election office by August 1 (or later depending on your state) for the General Election on November 8, 2022  
STEP 2: Fill out and send in your ballot when it arrives.                
WHEN? By the recommended deadline of October 24, 2022

Remember:  You can also send back your FPCA through the U.S. Embassy. 
Just follow the instructions provided in this link: https://cr.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/voting/   

HURRICANE PREPARATION: Hurricane Season is here, time to prepare!  Hurricane Season in the Atlantic began on June 1 and runs through November 30.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center expects the 2022 season to be above average. Here are ways you can prepare: 
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), a free service that allows U.S. citizens traveling or living abroad to receive the latest security updates from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.  Encourage your friends and family to register as well if they plan to travel outside of the United States. 
  • Organize a kit of essential items in a waterproof container including bottled water, any medications taken regularly, non-perishable food, battery powered radio, and vital documents, especially passports. 
  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and NOAA have additional tips on their websites: o   https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes o   https://www.noaa.gov/hurricane-prep                     

ADULT PASSPORT RENEWALS: Renew your adult passport without traveling to the Embassy!  Be sure to take advantage of the new DS-82 passport application mail-in program where you can pay the DS-82 passport renewal fee online and avoid traveling to the Embassy.  More information can be found at https://cr.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/passports/.   

EXPIRED PASSPORTS: Returning to the United States with expired U.S. passports – If you are overseas and your U.S. passport expired on or after January 1, 2020, you may be able to use your expired passport to return directly to the United States.  Please see https://cr.usembassy.gov/message-us-citizens-travel-expired-passports/ for requirements.  Do not wait, though…this program expires on June 30, 2022!   

CDC CHANGE FOR ENTRY REQUIREMENTS TO U.S.: Negative COVID-19 test no longer required to enter United States – The CDC no longer requires air travelers to show a negative COVID-19 test result, or documentation of recovery from COVID-19, prior to boarding a flight to the United States.  For more information, please see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/international-travel-during-covid19.html

Assistance:
U.S. Embassy San Jose     +506-2519-2000    
ACSSANJOSE@state.gov        https://cr.usembassy.gov/    
State Department - Consular Affairs     888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444    
Costa Rica Country Specific Information   

COVID-19 Symptoms

These are not all of the symptoms experienced by individuals testing positive for COVID-19, but here are the symptoms most commonly reported:

Fever
Dry cough
Tiredness
Difficulty breathing (most-severe cases)

Secondary Symptoms
Headache
Possible loss of senses of taste and/or smell

Social Distancing and Precautions

The most important action: wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds frequently at home (and away, if possible—if not, use hand sanitizer). If you go out, in addition to social distancing, be sure to take all recommended precautions. I’m one of those in the at-risk demographic. So when I now go out, I’m not proud or a fashionista. I wear gloves, a face mask and my extremities are completely covered (I also carry a re-sealable plastic bag with disinfectant wipes and I carry hand sanitizer). I also avoid touching any surfaces with my hands. And, I especially avoid touching my face (mouth, nose, and eyes).
When you come back home, be sure to follow cleaning protocols - clean your shoes, clothes, self. Be sure to clean anything you may have touched on the way in and out of your house. Every time you exit your car, don't forget to disinfect door handles, steering wheel, gear-shift knob and other surfaces you may have touched inside your car and then go inside, remove your gloves, and WASH YOUR HANDS!

Practice 2-meter social distancing when in public. DO NOT touch others (perhaps, elbow bumping is allowed). 

Shopping options

We hope you have discovered that many local grocery businesses (and restaurants!) are offering home deliveries (aka 'Express' or 'a domicilio'). Check your favorite vendor's FaceBook page, where they usually have express ordering availability and details.

Also, please be aware that many of your local neighborhood markets (pulperias) often offer staples at better prices than, say, Rosvil or even Maxi Pali. Remember that if we don't support our local neighbors, the big stores will swallow them up. As an example, now in Cajon, the La Pacifica market has greatly improved their product line, with an onsite bakery, more fresh produce and even more frozen meats. In Los Angeles, there is a wonderful veggie/fruit store (verdureria) in front of the high school now, and they will shortly be opening a carneceria - consume locally, use less gas! San Isidro also has a greatly expanded market as well, so we don't necessarily have to go Grecia for foodstuffs. 

La Gran Bodega, the produce-heavy market near the Grecia feria that is popular with the ex-pat community, makes home deliveries, as does Supermercado Rosvil.

Both businesses will deliver groceries to customers in the greater Grecia area for ȼ3000. Use Whatsapp to send a text message with your list and directions for delivery. You can then call or text afterwards to confirm.

Gran Bodega: The number is 8886-7278. Please have your order in by 10:00 a.m. Contact is Karla, she speaks both Spanish and English. Produce always excellent!

Rosvil: The Whatsapp number is 8654-5447. Spanish only! If you can make your list as detailed as possible they will bring exactly what you ask for. E.g., “leche, 1 galon, marca Dos Pinos”. Make a list, take a picture of it and send to the market. They will call you back to confirm – you can pay with cash or credit/debit card when they deliver. Order early in the day.

In Sarchi, a similar service is offered by Pedidos, 8301-4753, and Fulvio Verduleria, (express delivery on the weekends), 8407-2365. Call them for delivery details.

PriceSmart also has an online service - order your items via their website, pay and pick up your packed order the next day. 

updated 23 June 2022