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Costa Rican Authorities To Get Tough On Smokers Starting This Week

10 April 2012

Although the regulations and enforcements, nor where to pay the fines, is in place the Ministerio de Salud (Ministry of Health) says it will start this week visiting bars and restaurants around the country to ensure compliance to the Ley de Antitabaco.

“From next week we will visit these places, the Minister also informed by the regional establishments must remove any sign that indicates smoking area” said Roberto Castro, Director of Surveillance of the Ministry of Health, to the press last week.

With the move the smoking ban comes into its full rigor this week, and that all establishments are aware, if not met will take the necessary measures.

The sanctions against bars and restaurants, for example, can be a fine and include the suspension of the operating permit.

If a bar or restaurant loses their “permiso sanitario” it will then have to then initiate the complicated of getting it back.

Reports sent in to Inside Costa Rica indicate that the local municipal police in San José last week visited a number of bars and restaurants and issued warnings.

In many places smokers are being asked to go outside to feed their habit, some having to take to the sidewalks of the public streets as the debate centres on whether a parking lot is deemed part of the bar or restaurant.

In malls, like Multiplaza in Escazú, an ICR reader informs that he was asked by a security guard to snuff out while sitting  in his vehicle, parked in the mall’s parking lot, while smoking. “Where am I to go, to the pista?”, was the rhetorical question.

One of the requirements under the law is that establishments post anti-smoking signs.

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