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Update on the Election Weekend “Dry Law”

By: David Real | Real Acapulco News - 27 January, 2011

(Guerrero, AN 27 January) In Taxco, according to the municipal Director of Rules and Public Events, no alcoholic beverages can be sold there on Saturday or Sunday, either on premises or off. In fact, bars and discos will not be permitted to open at all. In Tecpan, sales of alcohol must stop at 6:00 pm on Saturday until 6:00 pm on Sunday. Bars, clubs and restaurants may remain open for so long as they do not serve alcohol.

The situation in Acapulco is muddier. Proprietors of convenience stores say that the “official” word is to close from 8:00 pm on Saturday until 8:00 pm on Sunday, Election Day. Some plan to start selling beer and wine at 6:00 pm because that is when the polls close, and “there’s no reason to take business away from us after the voting is over.” They add that this is a payday weekend, and the loss of sales from Saturday night and all day Sunday will be a severe economic blow.

Confusion is perhaps worse in Acapulco now. Last September, Jessica García, the local Secretary of Tourism, announced a “Dry Law” on the bicentennial celebration of Mexico’s independence. She had evidently confused holidays with election days. Even though the Mayor quickly corrected the gaffe and reassured Acapulqueños that it was OK to buy alcohol on Independence Day, the damage was done. Stores, bars and restaurants lost money because they closed on September 16, in the middle of one of the busiest long weekends of the year. One store manager recalled, “I couldn’t believe it. Acapulco is a tourist town! How can you impose a dry law on a national holiday, especially if you are the Secretary of Tourism?

In 2008 Acapulco went through the same throes with the Election Day dry law. Then the law was different for the tourist zone from the rest of the city and municipality. Everywhere other than in the tourist zone, sales were prohibited after 7:00 pm on the night before the polls opened, and continued until 7:00 pm on Sunday, an hour after the polls closed. In the tourist zone, drinking and buying alcohol was permitted until 11:00 pm on the night before. On a voting day in 2009, Acapulco’s measure went into effect at 00:01 on the day of voting, and ended at 23:59 on the same day. It is small wonder that no one seems to know what the official position is, inventing instead a position of their own.

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