A New Legislative Bill Proposes “Dry Law” to Help Control the Spread of COVID-19

A new bill seeks to include emergency decrees among the regulations by Municipal Councils to limit the sale of liquor in their territories. The initiative was presented by deputy Gustavo Viales on Wednesday afternoon; three days after the Minister of Security, Michael Soto, suggested to the municipalities to control the commercialization of alcoholic beverages as a measure to avoid crowds that induce the spread of the novel Coronavirus, and that only hours later the latter clarified that they did not have the power to do so.

Until now, the so-called “Dry Law” can only be applied during civic events, parades, or other official cantonal activities. The plan presented by the deputy of the National Liberation Party (PLN) proposes to add to article 26 of the Law for the Regulation and Marketing of Alcoholic Beverages these scenarios:

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A) Emergency decrees issued by the Government of the Republic that affect the respective canton.

b) When there are duly justified reasons of public interest to safeguard the safety, life, and physical integrity of people.

Corona commercial in Costa Rica

To apply the regulation, the initiative maintains as a requirement approval by a qualified majority of the respective municipal council, as it has been up to now. “It is a tool that some of the requests that the Executive Power is currently making to the municipalities can apply in an orderly manner and that the law prevents it. “It seems to me that it is a tool that would also help to expand the powers of municipalities to act in a harmonized way in an emergency,” explained legislator Viales.

Now the PLN proposal will begin its due process in the Legislative Assembly, where it will require two majority approvals. However, before, it will require an agreement of the fractions to advance places on the agenda; currently occupied by projects related to the state of national emergency by COVID-19.

This respiratory disease has infected more than 9000 people in the country in the last four months days. Of these, 40 have died and 2,555 have fully recovered, according to the latest balance given by the Ministry of Health. One of the recommendations to prevent its spread is physical distancing; reason for which social gatherings, like the opening of bars, have been suspended. However, despite the sanitary guidelines, the Police Force has had to intervene in more than 2,000 events during the last two weekends alone.

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