A very warm, still morning greets me in Atenas today. The atmosphere is convent
quiet. Nothing sings. The silence is suddenly ruptured when our neighbor and his
dogs walk by for their exercise. Our dog, sensing their presence in “her” territory
utters intruder alerts before sighing and returning to her usual place at my feet.
She settles down quickly after she makes her point, one more perk of living on a
quiet, country road. I breathe in gratitude and lean into the silence for today’s
After many weeks of Covid-19 restrictions in Atenas, we have entered phase 3 in
our small town. Not all the counties of our country have been as fortunate. I went
out yesterday for my usual Saturday errands, properly outfitted with a mask in
place. As I made my rounds, I was pleased to see that everyone I saw was equally
compliant with instructions from the Ministry of Health. Many of the masks I saw
were personalized and showed a great deal of creativity in design and color. It felt
like a team effort and I was happy to be a part of it. It is imperative we muster
our resources and remember that facts have no agenda.Staying indoors, wearing a mask
when out and social distancing are three effective ways to help halt the spread.
The walk around town was interesting. Most businesses were open and there were
many cars on the road as well as pedestrians walking and customers sitting in the
restaurants that had outdoor tables. Sadly, new “for rent” signs are on display in
locations where small shops had previously operated. The coming weeks will show
us the realities of the recovery we can expect going forward. We don’t know
everything about this virus but it is safe to say that we can protect ourselves
and each other by staying home as much as we possibly can. This will pass.
If everything goes according to plan, Costa Rica’s borders will open to tourism on
August 1st. It is estimated that tourism accounts for about 8.2% of our GDP. We
welcomed over 3 million foreign visitors in 2019, many of them lived in Atenas a
few months during the year. Covid-19’s overall impact has shed light on long-
standing inequalities worldwide, in Costa Rica as well. Tourist industry leaders
here must reimagine how to promote (national and foreign) tourism. Our product has
not been damaged. We still have our wonderful weather, our spectacular geography,
and the warmth of our people. We will bounce back, hopefully soon.
Have a great day of looking out for one another and a terrific week, Marietta