President Luis Guillermo Solís released a decree granting public sector workers permission to do what they almost certainly would have been doing anyway Friday: Watching Costa Rica play Italy in the World Cup.
The decree signed by Solís, Presidency Minister Melvin Jiménez, Labor Minister Victor Morales and Sports Minister Carolina Mauri gives government and autonomous institution employees permission to observe the Ticos’ upcoming match. Costa Rica plays Italy at 10 a.m. on Friday and England at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.
A win or a couple of ties likely would advance La Sele to the second stage of the World Cup for only the second time ever.
Costa Rica’s upset victory over Uruguay took place outside the work week last Saturday.
President Solís tweeted a reminder that the decree is not a day off, just a brief reprieve to enjoy the games, which were considered of national interest:
La directriz que emitimos para ver los partidos de #LaSele no es un asueto, es un permiso para ambos juegos, de 10 a 12 de la mañana.
— Luis Guillermo Solís (@luisguillermosr) June 19, 2014
Watching or hearing the matches, however, doesn’t mean public services stop. The decree specifies that all public offices shall remain open during the games and services will continue.
The president’s decree deferred to the respective heads of the Education Ministry, Finance Ministry and the National Insurance Institute.
Some public employees, however, will have to watch the game on the down-low. Workers at public hospitals and clinics operated by EBAIS and the Costa Rican Social Security System (Caja), and Juan Santamaría International Airport are exempt from the ruling, along with police, police support services, and penitentiary police.
Calling in sick with a case of World Cup fever won’t fly for public workers. According to the Caja, truant workers risk immediate dismissal without severance pay or other benefits.
If Costa Rica does advance out of Group D, the team would play its next match either Saturday or Sunday during the last weekend in June. Therefore, the president doesn’t have to worry about making another decree unless the Ticos reach the quarterfinals for the first time in the country’s history.