Most public employees will have Semana Santa off

The central government has declared all of Semana Santa to be vacation. That means most public employees will begin their week off at the close of business March 18 and return to work March 28.

Casa Presidencial said that the decree is designed to give a boost to tourism. Holy Thursday and Good Friday are legal holidays, so public employees really are only getting three extra days off. Many apply vacations to the first three days of the week anyway.

This year the vacation is mandatory. Those workers who already have expended their vacations will lose three days next year, according to the government.

Private employees frequently get the same time off, and some firms close all of Holy Week.

Mauricio Ventura, the minister of  Turismo, was quoted saying that Semana Santa is a period when families vacation the most.

Officials said they hoped for a 5 percent bump in tourism during the week.

There was no mention of the impact of a health alert for parts of the Pacific coast due to the zika virus. That is expected to reduce tourist numbers on the Nicoya peninsula.

Essential services are suppose to be maintained, but expats will find doing any kind of government business difficult during the last half of March.

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