Saturday 1 April 2023

Legislators to fast-track bill that eliminates vehicle restrictions

The majority of legislators voted in favor of eliminating the sanitary vehicle restrictions mandated by government decree

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QCOSTARICA – With a vote of 35 in favor and 7 against, legislators approved to fast-track the bill that eliminates the sanitary vehicular restriction, which currently applies nationwide from 12 am to 5 am, according to the current decree.

The vehicle restrictions apply nationwide from midnight to 5 am

The majority vote allows the initiative directly to the Plenary without going through the commission process that a bill normally requires.

The pro-government legislator Catalina Montero opposed the fast-track processing of the plan and expressed that the vehicle restriction must be maintained to contain the covid-19 pandemic.

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Across the floor, independent legislator Jonathan Prendas hopes that the initiative will finally be approved.

In a press release, legislators of the Neuva Republica party, proponent of the initiative, assured that the sanitary vehicle restriction slowed down economic activity and generated a negative impact that increased unemployment.

The current fine for circulating in a vehicle that is not exempt, ie taxis, tourism vehicles, rent-a-cars, vehicles driven by drivers with a letter from their employer, taking of dropping off someone at the airport, among others (see all exemptions here), comes with a fine of ¢110,000 colones.

The restriction applies across the country, every night, and in the central area of San Jose, weekdays between 5 am and midnight, based on the last digit of the vehicle’s license plate.

The following are the latest vehicular restrictions currently in place, established by government decree at the start of the pandemic and modified from time to time to reflect the behavior of the pandemic, such as new infections and hospitalizations, among others.

The government recently opted to extend the current restriction measures until February 28.

Vehicle restrictions affect operating hours of businesses

Supermarkets, grocery stores, mini-marts, and pulperias (convenience stores) raised their voices, once again, urging that they be allowed to operate according to the hours established in the health operating permit, eliminating the restrictions that weigh on these businesses.

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Currently, the vehicle restrictions supersede sanitary operating permits issued to businesses. For example, a bar or restaurant that has a permit to stay until 2 am has not been able to since the vehicle restrictions went into effect, with fines and closures, including loss of operating permits, for violations.

Gerardo Araya, president of the Cámara Nacional de Comerciantes Detallistas y Afines (Canacodea) – National Chamber of Retail and Related Merchants, said that the measure affects convenience stores and establishments located in tourist areas.

Flavia Loeb, administrator of Delimart, told Momunental Radio that the restriction has caused personnel cuts to be made.

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