Thursday 30 March 2023

Health expands permission for bars and taverns to function as sodas or restaurants

Measure allows bars attached to the measure to operate at 50% of their capacity and not at 25% as they would be in another scenario.

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QCOSTARICA – On Thursday, August 12, the Ministry of Health reported that starting today, Friday, August 13, bars, taverns, and nightclubs to operate as sodas, cafes and restaurants will be reactivated.

According to the Ministry of Health portfolio, bars, taverns, and clubs can expand their capacity if they convert to functioning as a restaurant, soda, and cafeteria; if the business has a liquor license, it can sell it as restaurants do. Image for illustrative purposes.

This measure had already been implemented since September 2020, however, the official government newsletter, La Gaceta, published on Thursday that the measure was without effect, which upset the commercial sector due to the economic repercussions that the revocation implied.

Authorities assured that “the resolution is reactivated taking into account the request of the commercial sector through the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Commerce (MEIC).”

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The Ministry of Health pointed out that it maintains the current norm “for the benefit of those businesses that applied such reconversion”with the aim of alleviating the economic repercussions of the covid-19 pandemic.

With the temporary extension, the bars that adhered to the resolution of “functioning as a restaurant, soda and cafeteria” will continue to have a capacity of 50% of their capacity, unlike the premises that function as bars or taverns, which can only work with a capacity of 25%.

Should more commercial facilities decide to make the switch, they should take the following steps:

  1. The establishment must have a valid health operating permit.

  2. The request must be made by the permit holder by email from the respective Health Governing Area. The list of emails is on the website of the Ministry of Health in the file: “Telephone numbers and Post Office of the Governing Areas” available at the following link: -ms / permits-to-establishments-ms

  3. The application must contain a commitment to comply with and respect the requirements, guidelines and protocols issued by the authorities for the operation of restaurants, sodas and coffee shops.

  4. An affidavit that the establishment meets the requirements to function as a restaurant, soda and cafeteria.

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    An authorization for the health authority to immediately close the commercial establishment if it is determined that it does not meet the requirements to function as a restaurant, soda and cafeteria or if it did not respect the requirements, guidelines and protocols issued by the authorities of health for this type of establishments.

Once the permit holder submits the application with the regulations, it will be authorized to change his business line from bar, canteen and tavern to restaurant, soda and cafeteria, without the need for the Health Governing Area authority to issue an administrative act.

According to the Health portfolio, if the business has a liquor license, it can sell it as restaurants do.

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