QCOSTARICA – Few, if any, businesses began this December 1 voluntarily asking customers for the QR code in exchange for operating at maximum capacity.
On a tour of various local shops in Santa Ana, this Wednesday, none asked customers for their proof of vaccination.
This was mainly due to possible “legal entanglements” and costs involved, according to spokespersons from the commercial and restaurant sectors.
As of this Wednesday, December 1, the Government offered business owners of commercial premises the option of requesting the QR to verify the complete vaccination against covid-19 in exchange for increasing the capacity to 100. Those who do not request it will continue to operate at 50% capacity.
Elliot Campos, president of the Costa Rican Chamber of Restaurants and Related Products (Cacore), believes that it is difficult for 30% of locals in that sector to verify the QR code because it is a measure “without much sense” in small places or places with low traffic of people.
“The QR in a club makes all the sense, since it allows them to compete against the clandestine parties that appeared just because of the closings of discos and concerts. In those cases it works because it provides security in closed and crowded places, but in restaurants, sodas, stores and others it is more cost and (legal) entanglement,” he explained.
According to their experience and the manifestations of affiliates, medium or small establishments already ask people to use a face mask and, when the point of sale is full, they usually leave customers queuing outside.
For his part, Arturo Rosabal, vice president of the Chamber of Commerce, declared that “unfortunately” the dialogue with the authorities on the issue of the application of the QR has been lost.
For the merchant, small premises lack the conditions or resources to carry out the verification as requested. Rosabal assured that they have sought, without success so far, a meeting with the authorities to suggest other styles of review that are more agile and economical.
The possibility of 100% gauging if the QR is requested, was a decision taken on November 18 by the Government after the Contentious Administrative and Civil Court of Finance stopped the obligation of the QR code while resolving a claim of tourist entrepreneurs against that measure.
“The measures are maintained as we have announced, both in their execution and in compliance with the precautionary measure, which is on hold. The income is voluntary, subject to private law,” declared Tuesday President Carlos Alvarado.
A business that decides to adopt the voluntary measure must indicate such with a sign at the entrance.
For José Francisco Quesada, president of the Asociación de Bares y Restaurantes (Asobares), most restaurants (he estimates between 70% and 75%) will choose to continue with reduced capacity instead of labeling their windows with “business at 100% capacity” style signs to avoid inspections that could inconvenience customers.
“What happens if someone comes to a soda and there they ask for the QR but the person does not want to show it or does not have it? That client, today, can refuse on the grounds that there is a mandate from a judge not to apply it. Then what? So we have to refuse entry,” the Cacore president commented.
In Quesada’s criteria, requesting the QR rather opens the door to “abuse of authority” by the inspectors and entities in charge of the inspections in the premises where it is decided to apply 100%.