Bogotá, Aug 20 . .- The Colombian government authorized this Thursday the pilot plans to reopen the country’s bars, closed since March due to the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but those establishments will not be able to sell, due to the moment, alcoholic beverages.
“The operation of the bars (…) will be carried out without the sale of alcoholic beverages, their operation is the same as that of restaurants or food outlets,” said the Government in an external circular published by the Association of Bars of Colombia ( Asobares).
The document also establishes the implementation of this measure in municipalities “without or with low affectation (by coronavirus) and in those with moderate and high affectation, as long as, for its development, the protocols adopted by the Ministry on biosafety are complied with. of health”.
In this sense, bars may be opened “as long as the territorial entity (local authorities) submit the request to the Ministry of the Interior and the latter authorizes it.”
REQUEST FOR FLEXIBILITY
Asobares thanked the Government but asked it “not to include or make more flexible the prohibition of the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages inside commercial establishments such as restaurants, gastrobars and bars.”
“The recent advances in the articulated construction of the protocol for our economic activity by the technical team of the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Commerce and Asobares are an incentive that we trust will be materialized in a resolution after the issuance of the Decree by the Ministry of the Interior “, added the association.
Last July, Asobares presented the “COVID Safe” seal, which will grant the establishments affiliated to that association that comply with the biosafety and health measures to be able to reopen as soon as the Government gives the authorization to do so.
Until before the COVID-19 quarantine was decreed, there were approximately 50,000 bars in Colombia that employed about 250,000 people.
96.6% of the establishments operated in leased premises and 84.2% were companies with up to 50 employees.
CRITICS OF THE DECISION
The decision was criticized from different sectors, whose representatives compared the measure with other controversial decisions of the Government of President Iván Duque.
“Bars without alcohol, decrees without signatures and responsible fracking … What else will my eyes see!”, Said on Twitter Katherine Miranda, representative to the Chamber of the Green Alliance, referring to the fact that the Constitutional Court declared unenforceable on July 2 decrees to help citizens mitigate the effects because they did not have the signatures of two ministers.
In the meantime, the “Make it head” campaign -which seeks to generate and disseminate information on Psychoactive Substances (SPA) to reduce risks and damage- assured that the measure is counterproductive because it “promotes the sale and consumption of adulterated alcohol” and “encourages consumption of illegal substances “.
“They will open half-baked bars for adults with high levels of anxiety, low tolerance to alcohol and other substances due to the obvious reduction of consumption in quarantine. The prohibition is the easiest and most mediocre, educating the most difficult and correct. Reduction of harm to return to the party “, said” Échele Cabeza “.