Must All Businesses Be Made Accessible?

May 26, 2006

My husband and I settled in a remote village of the Southern Zone almost six years ago and have been operating ever since a small Internet Café. We installed the café in an existing building and obtained all proper permits. Now, we’re being harassed by an inspector from the Health Ministry about the Law for Equal Opportunities for People with Disabilities

(Law 7600).

My question is: do all little businesses have to rebuild their entrances and washrooms and build ramps to comply with the law? I do not deny the rights of the handicapped, but it seems exaggerated to force a tiny enterprise to make investments that would threaten its existence.

 

Marie-Danielle Croteau

Ojochal

 

While enforcement of the equal-access law has been lax ever since it was passed 10 years ago, all businesses are supposed to comply with the law.

In fact, the law gave a 10-year window for all public spaces to comply. That period ends Monday (see separate story).

According to the law, public spaces include both publicly owned areas and privately owned businesses frequented by the public.

Bárbara Holst, executive director of the National Council for Rehabilitation and Special Education (CNREE), told The Tico Times municipalities are usually in charge of making public spaces accessible to the disabled, though all government ministries are supposed to enforce the law.

The Ministry of Public Health gets into the act when sanitation permits are involved, said Francisco Amen, who deals with permits for the ministry. The ministry obliges businesses or other entities seeking permits or permit renewals to comply with the law, Amen said.

However, it is very difficult to obtain information about how this works. Our phone calls were transferred around many times at the ministry before functionaries told us they needed authorization to give out the information we sought.

For more info, call the Rehabilitation Council’s hotline at 800-266-7356.

You may be interested

Adaptive surfing, part III: Riding the waves with Noah
sports
94 views
sports
94 views

Adaptive surfing, part III: Riding the waves with Noah

Ellen Zoe Golden - May 25, 2018

Part III in a series on adaptive surfing in Costa Rica. Read Part I, about the country's association for disabled…

It’s frog orgy season
Environment and Wildlife
1195 views
Environment and Wildlife
1195 views

It’s frog orgy season

Lindsay Fendt - May 25, 2018

The rainy season is upon us. For many of us that means hiding indoors for the next few months, but for Costa…

Costa Rica’s guilty voters
No Sugar Please
161 views
No Sugar Please
161 views

Costa Rica’s guilty voters

Álvaro Murillo - May 25, 2018

By what I have done, and by what I have left undone. A relative of mine is 70 years old…