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More than 100,000 layoffs as 40% of Costa Rica’s restaurants close

March 30, 2020

Some 100,000 restaurant workers in Costa Rica have lost their jobs after the closure of more than 40% of the establishments in the sector, a result of the crisis caused by the novel coronavirus.

According to the Costa Rican Restaurants Chamber (CACORE), 7,980 restaurants have closed this month, leading to the dismissal of 109,440 workers.

The closed establishments comprise 42% of CACORE’s affiliates, according to a survey carried out by the business entity.

“The majority of these businesses, 88.24%, are micro, small and medium-sized companies, which cry out to the government for more, better and prompt actions to avoid having to fire employees,” said Clemencia Palomo, a CACORE executive, quoted by La Nación.

In food courts at shopping malls, sales fell as much as 95%, according to CACORE.

The Costa Rican government adopted measures to help companies in the face of the pandemic, such as a moratorium on the payment of taxes and social charges, but for restaurant owners it has been insufficient.

“Despite the good will of the government, the measures to save our businesses are not enough,” said Jorge Figueroa, a CACORE executive.

This week, the Costa Rican government is presenting a plan before the Legislative Assembly that would allocate 225 billion colones (about $390 million) to support 375,000 families through financial contributions over the next three months.

“It’s still too early to know how many families will be affected and for how long they will be affected,” said President Carlos Alvarado. “It’s our duty to have solidarity.”

Costa Rica confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on March 6 and on Sunday surpassed 300 known cases of the virus.

Costa Rica coronavirus cases
A graph showing coronavirus cases in Costa Rica through March 29, 2020. Tico Times graph.

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