Allow businesses that already operate from Monday to Friday, such as restaurants, to do so on weekends with reduced seating conditions and change the night vehicular restriction to start at 9:00 pm and not at 7:00 pm, are some of the demands of the business sector made to President Carlos Alvarado.
Commerce feels easing measures is crucial to recover the economy from the Coronavirus.
The guidelines announced by the government earlier this week, to make, starting May 1 and until May 15, commercial and leisure activities more flexible did not convince businessmen, who feel that the measures fell short.
After almost two months of economic slowdown due to the pandemic, where tourists were banned, restaurants, cinemas and gyms were closed and concerts and sports activities – including national futbol (soccer) – were postponed and there is great concern for thousands of jobs at risk and economic activity.
“We express our concern about the government’s decision to keep restaurants closed during the weekends, because it is difficult to sustain operations and retain jobs under current conditions,” said Clemencia Palomo, spokesperson for the Cámara Costarricense de Restaurantes (Costa Rican Chamber of Restaurants).
In this sense, the government should evaluate the opening of other shops, which already operate from Monday to Friday, on weekends, “in conditions of reduced capacity and respecting vehicle restrictions,” said Julio Castilla, president of the Cámara de Comercio (Chamber of Commerce).
The actions taken to mitigate the effect of the coronavirus have been correct and although the measures could go in the right direction, “there are inconsistencies,” said Enrique Egloff, President of the Cámara de Industrias (Chamber of Industries).
This Monday, the government announced that cinemas and theaters, gyms and swimming schools may reopen during the week with a capacity of 25%. However, on Tuesday cinema operators say they won’t be opening on May 1.
On the other hand, the vehicle restriction measures are maintained, with a total prohibition of movement for vehicles from 7:00 pm to 5:00 am and restricted based on the last digit of the license plate from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm.
As for restaurants, they cannot operate on weekends except for delivery (express in Spanish) service.
However, Daniel Salas, Minister of Health, remains firm in the measures. In the Monday press conference, the Minister warned that if all restrictions were to be lifted and sanitary provisions were not followed, Coronavirus cases in the country be more than 52,000 by July, clearly exceeding the capacity of the CCSS.
“If there is oversight such as people forgetting to follow handwashing protocols, we simply would not be able to cope,” said Salas.
Are you satisfied?
The business sector says the economy has to reactivated as soon as possible and thus prevent the Coronavirus health crisis from doing more damage.
According to the public reaction by many in the sector, there is a split satisfaction with the government for the measures it announcedon Monday.