Three chambers issue criticism of Holy Week municipal alcohol bans

The tourism, hotels and restaurant chambers have issued a blunt criticism of the 27 municipalities that enforced a dry law over Semana Santa.

The joint statement noted that prohibiting the sale of alcohol on the Thursday and Friday of Holy Week damaged the economy and the tourism potential.

The statement said that six years have passed since the dry law was obligatory in the entire country. A new law went into effect at that time that gives the municipalities the option of enforcing the law. The law clearly has religious intent.

The chambers that issued the criticism were the Cámara Nacional de Turismo, the Cámara Costarricense de Hoteles and the Cámara Costarricense de Restaurantes.

The statement said that the dry law favors large supermarkets that sell large quantities of alcohol before the ban is imposed. In fact, residents of Montes de Oca, which maintains the alcohol ban, travel to San José where the ban is not enforced to buy wine, beer and other alcohol those two days.

The ban also affects the earning power of waiters and waitresses, the statement noted.

Gustavo Araya, president of the Cámara de Hoteles was quoted as saying that the approval of the ban shows a lack alcohol050515of leadership by mayors who let their local municipal councils establish a ban.

The chambers urged the municipal governments to evaluate the impact before approving a ban again next year.

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