Mérida, Yucatán — A few hours after state authorities publicly pleaded with the city and the Ministry of Health to address the matter, the City Council announced an imminent ban on live music after 11:30 p.m.
The regulations, drafted by both political and business leaders, are expected to pass a vote within days.
Councilman José Luis Martínez Semerena said Thursday that the measure affects restaurants, bars and cantinas in the entire city, not just in the Centro.
Existing clubs won’t be grandfathered; the regulations will apply to existing clubs as well as new ones, he said.
To continue with recorded music after 11:30, club owners must present a soundproofing analysis that proves neighbors won’t be kept awake.
The measure was drafted with input from bar owners and other representatives of the business community, reports Milenio Novedades.
The councilman, who is also the local coordinator for the majority National Action Party, said it is “a matter of days” before the regulations will be in force.
The Civil Protection Directorate and the state Secretariat of Health will continue its inspections, he also said. Several clubs have been shut down for lacking fixtures such as fire extinguishers or emergency lighting. One was recently shut down when officials said it violated existing noise rules, but has since re-opened. A louder one on the same street continues to dominate the block with after-hours music, neighbors complain.
“The objective of these new rules is so that restaurants, bars, video bars and cantinas can coexist with the people who live around them,” said Martínez.
Centro residents and some hotel owners have been at odds with entrepreneurs who have converted historic properties into nightclubs. The city had welcomed new bars into previously peaceful Centro Histórico neighborhoods. Many of those bars then blasted music in the open air, into the wee hours of the morning, apparently with impunity.
Whether or not the events are connected, the city crackdown on safety regulations began around the same time the banners appeared.