Mark your calendar: April 6, April 17 and April 18. These are days you won’t be able to get a beer, or any other alcoholic drink in San José. Not Costa Rica, but its big city!

Yup, the big city will be dry for run-off election on April 6 and the Good Thursday and Good Friday (April 17 & 18), the holiest of days of Semana Santa and legal holidays in Costa Rica.

The prohibition means that bars will have to sell juice, soda, water, etc… instead of beer or close down entirely. Supermarkets will be taking all their alchoholic beverages off the shelf. Or covering them up, easier than losing a beer or two to the hard work to take them off the shelf and back up again and off again and up again.

A slice of pizza and beer, no way in San José!

We don’t know yet where the line will be drawn, if municipalities like Escazú (on the west), Desamparados (on the south), Montes de Oca (San Pedro on the east) will join in or cash in.  Tibás (on the north) has said they will cash in on San José’s prohibition.

In the past, I can remember when the cops (enforcement officials) came around the night before of prohibition to start sealing up liquor cabinets, force bars to close entirely in some cases and many dashing off to the supermarkets to stockpile their booze for the dry days ahead.

Today, in 2014, I can’t believe that San José city officials are pegged to this antiquated tradition, a tradition that affects tourism – oh wait, there is no tourism in San José, unless you count a visit to the Teatro Nacional and the Plaza de la Cultura – and many small businesses run by hard working people, putting in long hours every day, to make ends meet.

I am not a drinker, so it doesn’t affect me one way or the other.  But I am involved in tourism activities and have clients and friends regularly visiting Costa Rica. I am just plain tired of explaining this prohibition thing, that you can carry an open bottle of liquor in your car (and soon the traffic police may not even be able to demand a breathalyzer at curbside), but you can’t go into a bar and have a beer. That you can’t have beer with a meal, or drink to chat up some hot babe (or dude).

To the folks running the city of San José these days, this is just plain stupid!  Do away with prohibition already.

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