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Costa Rican Supreme Court Orders the Tico Government to Suspend Requirement of a QR Code for Entering Shops

Written by Tamarindo News

The Contentious Administrative Court of the II Judicial Circuit of San José ordered the Government of the Republic to provisionally suspend the requirement of the QR code of the vaccination certificate against the novel coronavirus to enter businesses such as hotels, restaurants or bars.

The admission of a very provisional precautionary measure “ante-causam” raised by a group of tourist businessmen was communicated to the parties early this Saturday, the press office of the Supreme Court of Justice and one of the spokesmen of the plaintiffs confirmed.

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“The present precautionary request is admitted, for which the immediate suspension of the effects of the resolution of the Ministry of Health number MS-DM-8119-2021 of October 14, 2021 is ordered, only as long as it orders the demonstration of a scheme of vaccination through a QR code, which was established as mandatory verification both for the commercial establishments indicated in the indicated resolution, as well as for individuals or users of the same”, it reads in the therefore of the resolution.

The section adds: “In the same way, since it has current effects, but also, given the potential but certain permanence of the effects of this mandatory measure that was made known through the Presidential House statement number CP-1273-2021 On October 22, 2021, in a precautionary manner, the President of the Republic (Carlos Alvarado Quesada), the Minister of Health (Daniel Salas Peraza), the Minister ofScience (Paola Vega Castillo), the Costa Rican Social Security (CCSS) and the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE), to refrain from carrying out any conduct aimed at implementing the QR code at a commercial, social, labor, tourist, recreational or any other level, until it is resolved by the the merits of the present case”.

According to the communications department of the Judiciary, this is a “very provisional precautionary measure filed on Friday after hours, which is a process that is carried out prior to initiating a process. It will be on Monday that the case will be assigned a file number and the judges who study precautionary measures will take turns, who must call a hearing in order to decide whether the provision is maintained or suspended.

Important setback

The resolution represents an important setback for Alvarado Quesada, who just last Thursday defended the initiative and even ruled out that it would postpone its entry into force from January 8 to May 1, 2022, as requested by different political and productive sectors. .

Moral victory

Barry Roberts Strachan, representing the business sector explained that the request was made on behalf of hotel owners, restaurateurs and others, while emphasizing that this was not done out of rejection of the mandatory inoculation against Covid-19, but against the measure as such and its effects on the sector, especially since it was not consulted or discussed beforehand.”With this, the application of the QR is stopped for the duration of this process. It will be a judge who will have to define at the end if the suspension has to be maintained, so it is not known. We what we are trying to do, what we ask the Government is not to eliminate the process, but to suspend it until after Easter so that the country is not affected by the lack of income from tourism, which is so strategic for our economy.

“Unfortunately, the Ministry of Health did not want to hear our reasons and that is why we had to bring it in legally and now the judge has given us support. But this is a process. In other words, there is a very important moral victory, but it is also a legal victory, because it was possible to demonstrate to the Executive that we had the basis to support the arguments that we have already made to them and that they said no. Well, now a judge agreed with us and said: these people have enough base to comply with what is December and we must put the QR on unemployment. Now we must listen to what the other side of the coin (the Executive) says to see what they respond, but we are already winning,”said the former president of the National Chamber of Tourism (Canatur).

Affected establishments

Roberts Strachan estimated that the suspension will last for at least two months. The implementation of the code is scheduled to begin on a mandatory basis on January 8th, 2022, to enter:

  • Restaurants, sodas, cafes and food courts (food trucks and food courts).
  • Bars and casinos.
  • General stores and shopping centers.
  • Museums.
  • Fitness centers.
  • Hotels, cabins or accommodation establishments.
  • Spas.
  • Activities, organizations or congregations in places of worship.
  • Event rooms for business, academic or social activities.
  • Adventure trip.
  • Theaters, cinemas, art and dance academies and artistic activity establishments.
  • Sports activities establishments.

Transition period

Between December 1, 2021 and January 7, 2022, a transition period will be launched, in which these businesses will be able to choose between opening with 100% capacity with a clientele with a complete vaccination scheme, or 50% capacity but with assistants without an immunization certificate.

Since its announcement, tourism businessmen argued that the entry into force of this measure at the beginning of another year will generate “devastating and irreversible” damage to the sector. To demonstrate this affirmation, the Chamber of Tourism applied a survey to its members, with which it was determined that 58% of the businesses surveyed already registered cancellations after the announcement of the QR and that only during the first week an average drop in the 15% on reservations. This first impact generated, according to the business organization, losses that exceed $ 2.6 million among those consulted.

Despite this, President Carlos Alvarado Quesada denied that the QR application was not going to be moved. “No, it would be like completely discarding the QR. It would also be telling Costa Ricans that the QR enters in May. It would be renouncing all,” with inquiries from the press.

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