The mayor of Progreso, left, tours the Cessa health center with Dr. Sergio Bates. Photo: Courtesy

Progreso, Yucatan — A “ley seca,” or “dry law” that bans alcohol sales, will be implemented here through the Easter season, the mayor announced. Telchac also announced a temporary liquor-sales ban starting today, giving only 24 hours notice to consumers.

Progreso’s April 1-20 ban could extend even longer, “depending on the evolution of the health contingency COVID-19,” said Progreso Mayor Julián Zacarías Curi. The ban reaches satellite communities such as Chelem, Chuburna Puerto and Chicxulub Puerto.

Mirroring a similar restriction imposed in Quintana Roo, the law is meant to protect families from alcohol-fueled abuse while residents are taking shelter from the coronavirus. Already several beaches, and the malecon along the waterfront, are closed.

No exceptions for restaurants — a typical element in an election-day liquor prohibition — was mentioned.

“This proposal was submitted for consideration by the Cabildo Porteño, because, in recent days, there has been an increase in family violence in the municipality, and largely been due to the high consumption of alcoholic drinks in homes,” the mayor posted, in Spanish, on his Facebook page. “Similarly, with this dry law, it is intended to prevent people from other municipalities from coming to ‘vacation’ … and with this, reduce the danger of contagion.”

March is a slow time for fishermen, and with multiple establishments already closed, the unemployment situation is critical on the Gulf coast.

“Right now there is no fishing, there are no cruises, no tourism, we are in contingency; many people are spending what they do not have on drinking and reports of family violence have increased because of this situation,” said Zacarías Curi, adding that these problems can lead to increased crime.

“Why were you so afraid to just put up a checkpoint/roadblock?” replied a local resident. “And this won’t stop the underground illegal liquor consumption. The wealthy will still make their connections to purchase and will still come to their beach houses. Poor decision.”

Meanwhile in Merida, the mayor denied planning any such measure in the capital city. A graphic, designed to look like an official “ley seca” notice from the ayuntamiento, was shared on social media earlier this week. Its source was never determined.

Yucatan has 36 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Saturday morning, and no reported deaths.

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