Retailers: Expectation for Lift of Restrictions

After the Costa Rican government announced that they are evaluating the option of lifting as of March the sanitary measure that restricts the free circulation of vehicles on weekends, the trade union of the commercial sector considers that this would be a great relief for the economy.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

On Sunday night, the government informed that it is analyzing the elimination of the traffic restriction applied on weekends. This sanitary measure was imposed as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

According to the Presidency of Costa Rica, the change in the restriction would be due to the results of the analysis of the measures implemented to date and the epidemiological outlook.

Since the commercial sector has been one of the most affected by the pandemic and the sanitary measures issued by the authorities, the announcement was welcomed by the Costa Rican Chamber of Commerce.

Arturo Rosabal, vice-president of the Chamber of Commerce, told that "... 'we welcome the news that the Health authorities are considering eliminating the license plate restriction during weekends. This is a great relief for thousands of businesses and restaurants throughout the country'."

The most recent report of the Central Bank of Costa Rica states that in December 2020, commercial activity presented a year-on-year variation of -9.7%, due to the lower commercialization of vehicles and construction-related products, partially offset by the increase in demand for mass consumption goods (food), electrical and household items.

Check out the "System for monitoring markets and the economic situation in Central American countries", prepared by CentralAmericaData.

More on this topic

Retail: Restrictions eliminated in Guatemala

February 2021

Arguing that the number of covid-19 cases decreased in recent days, the authorities decided that as of February 5, 2021, supermarkets, convenience stores, neighborhood stores, shopping centers and plazas, will be able to operate on a regular basis.

According to Ministerial Agreement 08-2021 of the Ministry of Public Health, as of January 26, shopping centers and plazas, supermarkets, convenience stores and neighborhood stores, could develop their activities until 7:00 pm.

Commercial Sector Crisis Gets Worse

July 2020

Since 2017, commercial activity in Costa Rica has been slowing down, but with the closures of businesses due to the covid-19 outbreak, between March and July of this year, sales have fallen considerably.

In this context of restrictions on movement and social distancing measures, which began in March of this year, approximately 30% of shops were reported to have closed and it is estimated that just in July, sales in the commercial sector fell by 68% compared to the same month in 2019.

Restaurants Ask for More Flexible Schedules

April 2020

Businessmen in the sector in Costa Rica requested the authorities to modify the last restriction, which prohibits restaurants from providing self-service after 5 p.m.

According to directors of the Costa Rican Chamber of Restaurants (Cacore), the measure of sanitary vehicle restriction, which forces establishments to close at 5 pm, has caused a collapse in the express service system itself and through platforms.

Commercial Sector Begins to Suffer from the Crisis

March 2020

Because of the health crisis generated by the spread of covid-19, shopping centers, restaurants, clothing and footwear stores, among other businesses, began to report a decline in commercial activity in Nicaragua.

Not all businesses in the commercial sector have been affected by the advance of the pandemic, as in recent days’ supermarkets and pharmacies have been crowded by consumers.