On Monday, the Ministry of Health sent to the Legislative Assembly an initiative to toughen economic sanctions for those who fail to comply with special orders or measures, such as quarantines.
The document, “Reforma al artículo 378 y adición de un artículo 378 bis a la Ley N°5395 del 30 de octubre de 1973, Ley General de Salud”, signed by President Carlos Alvarado and the Minister of Health, Daniel Salas, seeks a maximum sanction of ¢2,251,000, equivalent to 5 base salaries for those who fail to comply with health measures in case of contagious disease in the country.
The reform established the following sanctions:
a) To the person with risk factors for a serious illness due to a contagious disease that is the object of an isolation order, a fixed fine of one (1) base salary. An amount equivalent to ¢450,200 (US$781*).
b) A person suspected of a contagious disease, or one who, even without presenting obvious symptoms or signs of said disease, is the subject of an isolation order because of close contact with a causative agent of the disease, a fixed fine of three (3) base wages. An amount equivalent to ¢1,350,600 (US$2,344*).
c) To the person who, medically or clinically, has been diagnosed with a contagious disease, a fixed fine of five (5) base salaries. An amount equivalent to ¢2,251,000 (US$3,907*).
The addition to article 378 bis establishes that:
The sanctions established in article 378 of this law will be applied by the health authority. For such effects, the offender must be notified by means of a health report, granting them a period of twenty working days to proceed with the payment of the fine. An appeal may be filed against the health report before the Minister of Health, within three business days of notification thereof. The appeal must be processed within a maximum period of three business days and the resolution must be notified through the electronic means that are enabled for such purposes. The signature of the offender will be proof of the notification of the health report. If the offender is unable or refuses to sign the health report, the health authority will leave a written record of said situation in the report and the act will be considered notified.
In the event that the fine is not paid within the established period, the amount will be sent to judicial collection, lose a business license (if applicable) or the amount, plus costs and interest, noted on the person’s driver’s license.
The document also indicates that the Ministry of Health must inform the Office of the Attorney General of the non-compliance with the sanitary measures imposed by the competent authority, in order to determine if the act constitutes a crime.
Base Salary. Costa Rica when establishing a fine it used the ‘Salario Base’ (Base Salary), an amount set by the Superior Council of the Judiciary, since it is the monthly base salary of the clerk one of that institution, according to Law 7337 of May 5, 1993. See here the historical list of Salarios Base from 1996 to 2020.
* The rate of ¢576 colones per one US dollar was used for the conversion in this article.