Commercial establishments must provide safety for customers

By Antonio De Jesús Aguado

Felipe Cohen, director of the Civil Protection Department, said that 164 written warnings have been issued to commercial establishments in violation of public safety codes, but only 33 have fully complied. He announced that those establishments that do not meet safety requirements would be closed.

Cohen said that the duty of his department is to guarantee that commercial establishments fulfill safety requirements to prevent risks and fatalities. He said that since they began this regularization campaign, of the 164 businesses receiving a warning 116 have begun to make changes to meet safety codes. He added that 94 establishments have ignored the warnings or are not even registered as businesses. Despite this, the department is working to regularize all the businesses with the goal of having a safer September, a month of major holidays.

Cohen thanked associations such as CANIRAC, CANACO and SERVITUR because they are working together to guarantee the security of sanmiguelenses and visitors. He also mentioned the case of Limerick (a bar on calle Umarán), which was temporary closed because it did not meet safety requirements such as having an emergency exit; the bar is now open because they decreased the number of patrons allowed in from 350 to 200 and are already working with the INAH (National Institute of Anthropology and History) in order to use the windows as doors. La Chula, which has a rooftop bar, was also closed because the structure could not support a large group of people, but according to Cohen it was reinforced and the rooftop is open again.

The director said he regrets that restaurants such as Los Milagros have ignored the warnings and commented that cases of emergencies have occurred there and the personnel did not help the patrons because of lack of training in first aid. He said that they have not made changes at the restaurant, and that if they do not meet the safety requirements it will be temporarily or permanently closed.

An employee of Los Milagros said that they have not handed over their program of civil protection but that does not mean that do not have it. They added that the work is being performed by a consultant (former director of Civil Protection) who has authorization from the state to do this work. Staff also commented that during the year they had two emergency events. In one case, an elderly man traveling alone in the city fainted in the restaurant and was assisted by staff, who also called an ambulance. In the second case, a female patron began choking and was also helped by staff trained in first aid.

The employee said that they are working to fulfill the requirements and are nearly finished, adding that in May they closed for one week to make some of the needed changes. The employee said that now everything is in order and the restaurant is prepared for the inspection from the Civil Protection Department.

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