Yucatan enacted a sudden “dry law” for 20 days to quell activity during the coronavirus crisis. Photo: Courtesy

With little warning, a 20-day alcohol ban for the entire state began today in Yucatan.

The “ley seca” will last until April 30, according to Decree 208/2020 published late Thursday in the Official State Gazette.

By the time the law was announced, there was little time to stock up. Diario de Yucatan’s reporter visited the a Sam’s Club on Avenida Itzaes in Merida, crowded with shoppers frantically filling their carts. They appeared unconcerned with social distancing protocols, she noted.

Some shoppers were too late and went home, angry and empty-handed, the reporter said.

Numerous towns, including Progreso, had already instituted their own dry laws, and shoppers stocking up on beer, wine and liquor saw this coming. The ban is meant to discourage recreational activity during the coronavirus contingencies. It is also intended to quell rising instances of alcohol-fueled violence, including domestic abuse, under these stressful circumstances.

Beer supplies were already beginning to run low after Mexico’s major breweries shut down when the federal government declared them non-essential.

On Facebook, comments ranged from supportive to outraged.

One reader said the ban would only create clandestine beer trade, as the Prohibition did in the United States in the early 20th century.

Another noted that people addicted to alcohol would likely resort to desperate measures.

“Problem is, those that need alcohol will resort to dangerous other things: rubbing alcohol, moonshine, Lysol as examples. Others that were prone to family violence will be agitated and stressed, also not a good combo,” he said.

But a local woman saw the law as beneficial.

“Alright so … instead of buying beers, they will provide food for their kids and family,” she commented.

Sources: La Journada Maya, Diario de Yucatan, Facebook