Wednesday, April 8th 2020

Will We Be Stuck in Quarantine without Alcohol in Mexico?

Written by

Rafael Bracho

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Quarantine without alcohol

This article was written by a WeExpats contributor about the implementation of dry law in Mexico during the coronavirus quarantine. Could we be facing quarantine without alcohol in Mexico? Has your state restricted the sale of alcohol? Has your state gone completely dry? How do you feel about these measures? We’d love to hear from you on our Facebook page! Click here to join in the conversation.

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Will We Be Stuck in Quarantine without Alcohol in Mexico?

Quarantine without Alcohol in Mexico – Introduction:

Many in Mexico have been feeling the effects of the coronavirus. Several cities have implemented a social distancing protocol. Some places are on lockdown. However, recently, much of Mexico has been gripped with the fear of spending their entire quarantine without alcohol.

If it sounds outlandish to you, you may be surprised to learn that parts of Mexico are already fully dry for the month of April. Other parts of the country have restricted the sale of alcohol. And that leaves the rest of Mexico wondering: Will we be spending our quarantine without alcohol in Mexico?

Quarantine without Alcohol in Mexico – Short Supply:

There are a couple of reasons why we might be spending our quarantine without alcohol in Mexico. The first is that alcohol is in short supply. Surely, you’re thinking: but it’s Mexico. This country makes enough beer to supply the world with famous Mexican beers like Corona and Negra Modelo.

Unfortunately, as the government struggles to prevent the coronavirus in Mexico from spreading as it has in the United States, bars and restaurants have been ordered to close. All non-essential businesses are shut down and this includes the breweries.

All breweries in the Mexican states of Nuevo León, Baja California, and Quintana Roo have been ordered by the National Chamber of the Transformation Industry (Cacintra) to shut their doors to production, which includes some of the major name brands in Mexico.

Grupo Heinekken Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma (which makes Tecate, Indio, XX, and Heineken among others) and Grupo Modelo (which fabricates such classics as Corona, Pacifico, and Modelo) will both be ceasing production to comply with government regulations that deem beer production as non-essential.

This will undoubtedly affect the supply found in stores such as supermarkets and convenience stores like OXXO. Furthermore, it has instilled some panic-buying across states in Mexico—which is only further limiting the supply available for purchase. States like Monterrey, Tamaulipas, and Nuevo León have all had their experiences with panic buying and their state governments are tackling the issue through different means.

In addition, this could have a lasting effect on the Mexican economy. Grupo Modelo alone directly influences 15,000 farmers and their families who sow 150,000 hectares of malted barley just for this one beer conglomerate.

In addition, Grupo Modelo will affect the livelihood of 800,000 shopkeepers whose income from alcoholic sales in their mom-and-pop stores is roughly 40%.

UPDATE! Since this article was written, it seems that the Mexican government has agreed with the Mexican people that breweries are deemed essential. As long as breweries comply with stricter regulations because of coronavirus, then Mexico will allow breweries to operate. It is unclear how this will affect the time restrictions or states that have gone fully dry. As always, we will endeavor to get you the information as fast as possible.

*Click here for more information. 

Quarantine without Alcohol in Mexico – Restricted Purchases:

In a bid to prevent panic buying from becoming a problem, several states in Mexico have limited the amount of alcohol that one person can purchase. For example, Tijuana has limited the purchase of alcohol to two pieces per person.

Some states like Sonora and Campeche have put time restrictions on alcohol sales depending on the number of people in each municipality in that state. For example, in Sonora, districts with more than 5,000 people will permit alcohol sales only during the day from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm. If you have less than 5,000 people, your window to purchase is even shorter.

In Campeche, you can only purchase alcohol between 12:00 pm and 6:00 pm.

The Milenio reported in this article (if you click here in orange), that a popular tourist attraction, the state of Quintana Roo, has implemented time restrictions for two weeks until April 10th. Then after the 10th, time restrictions for the purchase of alcohol will be in place.

Dry Law in Mexico

Quarantine without Alcohol in Mexico – Absolutely Dry:

In Tabasco, one of the states hit hardest by the coronavirus in Mexico, the governor has declared a full dry law (ley seca). That means that there will be absolutely no sales of alcohol—indefinitely. In answer to the inevitable question of Why?—the governor of Tabasco Adán Augusto López answered that he felt it was necessary to ensure the safety of the people.

However, López offered no concrete reasoning as to why he felt it was necessary to ensure the safety of his population. Perhaps he felt that people tend to congregate and throw caution to the wind when they are drinking. Perhaps it was in an effort to prevent a spike in domestic abuse. Either way, we do not know for sure.

Another state to implement prohibition measures is Yucatán. Several municipalities in the state have gone fully dry, and in the capital Mérida, most supermarkets and convenience stores have gone completely dry. Other municipalities like Dzidzantún, Motul, Temozón, and Progreso have all followed suit and declared themselves to be completely dry.

This will last for 20 days at the least and then they will reevaluate on April 20th to see if they will extend the dry period for longer. In late March, Mayor of Yucatán Julián Zacarías Curi stated that “it is a temporary measure, but it will be strict, since whoever violates it will be subject to fines and even (business) closings.”

Quarantine without Alcohol in Mexico – Will Your State be Next?

Understandably, the reviews for the implementation of dry law and the prospect of quarantine without alcohol in Mexico has been an unpopular one. The internet is rife with memes and gifs illustrating Mexican’s displeasure.

If you want to know, Am I worried?—the answer is an unequivocal yes. When I discovered that there may be a dry law, I bought a bottle of tequila and seven 24-packs of beer. To avoid the typical panic purchases, I bought the beer on Amazon Mexico.

They were already restricting beer purchases to one per client, and several others were not available. I managed to find a distributor who was selling a popular low-carb beer and I bought six 24-packs of that in case my state went dry, and one 24-pack of a crisp Mexican lager (which was my maximum limit).

I live in Cuernavaca, Morelos, and there has already been speculation that our state could go dry soon. The Secretary of the City of Cuernavaca Erick Santiago Romero stated publicly that he’s not ruling out dry law. As is the case with most occurrences in Morelos, we’ll likely wait and see if Mexico City (CDMX) goes dry. However, if CDMX does go dry, then you can bet that Morelos will follow suit.

What seems to be most harrowing is that there is no warning. Many of the states listed in this article gave no warning. Simply the next day there were no alcohol sales. Other states gave a few days warning, so in answering whether you’ll be spending your quarantine without alcohol in Mexico, we must simply say. . . maybe.

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