By César Arroyo, Alonso Martínez, Julián Zamora y Mari Arango
Esta publicación también está disponible en: Español
The viralized hashtag #StayHome is a privilege that not everyone in the country can share on their social networks. There is a large group of people who cannot afford that luxury. They have to go out every day because otherwise they cannot pay the rent, debts or feed their families. Informal work in Costa Rica is part of the day to day. From caring for cars in Cartago or street vendors in San José, to artisans on the increasingly deserted beaches of Guanacaste. According to the 2019 INEC data, they are equivalent to 46.5% of the employed population.
All these people, who depend on the sales they make on the street, today breathe fear and uncertainty about what the COVID-19 virus pandemic may bring. If they are prohibited from leave their houses, they will stop receiving money. They would have to undergo a confinement without the security that there is food, or even hygiene implements in their houses. If they go out, they are taking a risk, and if they stay, too. “And if I have to close, who will feed me?” Adela Villalta, stocking vendor on Avenida 4 on San Jose, said.
According to the head of the MTSS (Ministry of Labor and Social Security) press Geovanny Díaz, they are working to see what are the possible exits or solutions for these people.
In Voice of Guanacaste and Delfinocr we collect testimonies from informal workers in San José, Cartago and Guanacaste about what means for them and their families to be in quarantine.