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National Tourism Chamber to municipalities: Let people drink during the election and Easter Holy Week, please!

April 8, 2014

The National Tourism Chamber (CANATUR) has sent a letter to all 81 Costa Rican municipalities asking them to “exercise their autonomy and not apply the prohibition of alcohol sales” on Sunday, April 6, the day of Costa Rica’s presidential runoff election, and during Easter Holy Week, which this year runs from April 13-20.

“Current legislation grants municipalities the right to decide whether or not to restrict the sale of alcoholic beverages during certain holidays. We appeal to the good sense of all local authorities to be aware that this prohibition causes a huge negative impact on the tourism sector,” CANATUR President Isabel Vargas said in the letter.

However, the chamber’s request has so far generated little response, and as of this week only six percent of municipalities have decided whether or not to enforce the ban.

Among them, the municipalities of Tibás and Mora in San José, El Guarco in Cartago, and San Rafael in Heredia confirmed they will not apply restrictions on alcohol sales in their communities, while the capital’s Central canton will enforce the prohibition.

“We need city officials to speak out soon. We owe our associates respect and we need to inform them in a timely manner about the municipalities’ decisions, as business owners need to make plans for those dates in advance,” Vargas said.

Municipal officials’ poor track record on informing tourism businesses about enforcement of the dry law, particularly during the Feb. 2 first-round elections, has hurt those businesses in the past, CANATUR said, citing reports from groups such as the Costa Rican Chamber of Hotels and the Costa Rican Chamber of Restaurants

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