Saturday 1 April 2023

“Businesses on wheels” may be installed in public spaces authorized by the municipalities

In addition to food, new ventures could venture into the "trucks" modality

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QCOSTARCIA – Businesses on wheels, under the figure of “trucks”, will no longer depend solely on private events to be able to move around in different locations, but will now have the possibility of selling in public places authorized by the municipalities.

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This after legislators approved (in first debate) the bill that aims to formalize the activity of these businesses, which in addition to the gastronomic modality, could promote new ventures related to sales of goods and services.

Daniel Ulate, legislator for the Partido Liberacion Nacional (PLN) and proponent of the initiative, considers that this legislation will contribute to economic reactivation, because it will diversify business options and offer new employment opportunities.

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“This law will help boost business and that is the greatest contribution that is made, since within the project we established to extend this modality to another type of commerce that is not just the food business,” said Ulate.

In addition, he was emphatic in pointing out that this new regulation will not affect the way private activities are currently carried out in the country.

“The project focuses on public spaces, in such a way that the municipalities must promote and enable places within the cantons that develop and promote this type of commerce,” added Ulate.

The law does not apply to private spaces.

Currently, the “trucks” dedicated to gastronomy can be located in private spaces, activities, or festivals, for which, depending on the activity, may require temporary permits such as health and other requirements, but the new legislation forces them to formalize with the municipalities to be able to operate also in the public spaces.

For this reason, although they do not oppose the law, the owners of “trucks” point out that there are still pending issues, especially in terms of the duration of municipal patents and the agility with which permits are issued by the municipalities.

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“This procedure must be one, we are not opposed to the requirements of Health permits, we have to comply with all the laws, but municipalities are required to be more agile to enable spaces where we can (operate) in calm and safety”, said Arnulfo Madrigal, representative of the Asociación Costarricense de Foodtrucks (Costa Rican Association of Food Trucks).

Likewise, Madrigal questions that because there is no uniformity of criteria of the municipalities for these patents, they will not be able to mobilize in an agile way or tour at will in the public spaces of the different cantons of the country.

“If they are going to collect a patent, we are not against it, we will pay for it, but make sure it is agile, that it be fast, that we can move as they intend us to do, but (as it is) right now we have to request a permit from each municipality, which takes three to four weeks, to go anywhere, to park for two days,” added Madrigal.


Given this scenario, the representative of the union hopes that a commission can be organized in which the owners of “trucks” and the municipalities participate, to define a unified methodology that allows them to move with all the permits in order, but quickly.

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The entry into force of this law will also affect an informal group of food trucks, the majority, that now must meet a series of requirements to operate in authorized public places that municipalities decide.

Requirements that business owners on wheels must meet to operate in public spaces

  • Temporary permit to the municipality that determines the physical space enabled
  • Sanitary operating permit by the Ministry of Health
  • Apply to the municipality for a special temporary business license
  • Apply for a work risk policy
  • Register with the Ministry of Finance the business activity carried out
  • Register with the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (the Caja)
  • Have the  respective permit for the use of LPG liquefied petroleum gas
  • Have a current food handling course by the INA and approved by the Ministry of Heatlh


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"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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