San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Ministry Names Businesses Closed for Health issues

Five businesses in Tamarindo have been shut down by the Health Ministry for failure to comply with sanitary orders. Seven more could soon follow.

The shuttered businesses are Hostel Tamarindo, Fiesta del Mar restaurant, Fish Meat restaurant, Soda Café de Pedro and the Nuestra Casita soda.

The Pescador restaurant also had to shut its doors temporarily because of a Health Ministry order, regional director Juan Luis Sánchez said. But they reopened after fixing their problems.

“They’re the only one that has complied so far,” he said. “All the establishments were cited for deficiencies in their sewage infrastructure and/or sanitary problems with their serving of food.”

Sánchez named seven other businesses – Cabinas Coral Reef, Condominios Balcon del Pacifico, Casa Cook, Hotel Bella Colina, and restaurants Sur y Mar, Iguana Surf and Tapioca – that could be closed soon if they don’t comply with ministry orders.

The closures are the result of months of inspections conducted by the Health Ministry after August 2007 water-quality tests conducted by the National Water and Sewer Institute (AyA) revealed drastic bacteria contamination in 12 of 13 beach sites tested along the coast.

At the time, the national Blue Flag program, which certifies the country’s beaches for cleanliness and safety, convened emergency meetings and decided to revoke the area’s designation.

Sánchez said more work remains to be done. Originally, the ministry wanted to have all the follow-up inspections completed by the first week of March. But that didn’t happen.

“The follow-up was on a smaller scale than what I was led to believe would happen,” he said. “So, we didn’t finish the followup.

It’s a job that never ends. But I’m optimistic most establishments will fix their problems.”

Tamarindo Takes On Ick

As problems with sewage continue in Tamarindo, a group of private businesses met under the aegis of the Guanacaste Chamber of Tourism on April 15 to coordinate a regional development plan, part of which will identify a good location for a sewage treatment plant.

“During a period of approximately two months, three engineers from a consulting firm are donating their labor to conduct a technical investigation… for development not only for the tourism industry but also for the entire resident population in Tamarindo,” states a Chamber press release.

“With this plan, we will be able to technically determine the ideal site for (a sewage treatment plant), what type of system to use, what capacity it should have,” Chamber President Mauricio Céspedes said.


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