Puerto Rico governor ends ban on liquor sales
SAN JUAN – Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced Friday that he has revoked the prohibition of alcoholic beverage sales, an order that went into effect on Sept. 19 as Hurricane María approached Puerto Rico. He also shortened the curfew two hours and now runs from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
During the past few days, several bar and restaurant owners in San Juan have expressed concern about the result of the so-called “dry law” on their businesses since it has made it impossible for many of them to open.
“We opened a few days with the generator running and serving food, but we were hemorrhaging money,” said Zalika Guillory Liman, co-owner along with her husband Jake Liman of La Taberna Lúpulo in Old San Juan, which employs 30 people.
“We had to close because 80% of our business is selling alcohol. People would come in and beg us to break the law, but I can’t risk losing my liquor license.”
Restaurants have also been affected by the ban since most of their revenue comes from the sale of alcoholic beverages, explained Leslie Cofresí, owner of La Alcapurria Quemá in La Placita de Santurce, where they have been serving lunch every day since Thursday last week, after María raked the island.
“People come by asking for a cold beer because of the heat. It affects all of us, not just the bars,” the also co-owner of La Factoría and Caneca said.
Many bar and restaurant employees, including dishwashers, cooks, servers, bartenders, haven’t had an income source in nearly a month. This is because after Hurricane Irma, a number of businesses didn’t get electric power service back and were unable to open.
The businesses that have been operating for the past nine days since the major hurricane disrupted everything on the island have been unable to generate enough income to cover all their employees in great part because of the liquor sales ban, Stephen Hoppe of La Penúltima in Santurce who is serving lunch and allowing people to use Wi-Fi and charge their phones.
The curfew on the other hand, which will be in place indefinitely, now runs from 9 p.m. through 5 a.m. The governor cut two hours from the daily period of time that people must stay in their homes, with a number of exceptions. The announcement was made during the daily briefing from the Government’s Emergency Headquarters.