MEXICO CITY, Mexico – A recent English-language article written by a U.S. citizen living in Morelos is entitled: “Will We Be Stuck in Quarantine without Alcohol in Mexico?”

Mexico has ordered nonessential companies to remain closed until April 30 as it tries to curb the virus’s spread. 

Grupo Modelo, the producer of Corona beer, is working with the government to be qualified as essential and says it is proceeding with a plan to “guarantee the supply of beer” worldwide. It does not expect shortages in the short term.

#WeExpats, a website for U.S. citizens living in Mexico, published the article and invited commentary from ex-pats on their opinions. The website states the following:

“Breweries in Mexico have been deemed as non-essential and their production has cut down to a trickle. States have begun restricting the times when you can buy alcohol, or how many can be purchased by one person. Some states have even gone completely dry for at least the month of April.”

It goes on to say:

“Are you experiencing restrictions on alcohol sales in your #Mexican state? Have you gone fully dry? What do you think about these measures? We’d love to hear from you. Let us know what you think.”

The reactions from U.S. expatriates range from approval to protest. Some are supportive of the restrictive measures:

“You act like it’s a bad thing. This is a quarantine, not a vacation. People are less likely to act stupid when there isn’t much alcohol available, which helps hospitals from getting overwhelmed with drunk driving accidents and alcohol overdose,” states Sylvia Foster, in obvious agreement with the action. 

Another reader states:

“A healthy immune system is essential for defending against the virus. Alcohol compromises immune systems. Trump once said that Mexico wasn’t sending its best people to the U.S. What are we sending to Mexico, a bunch of alcoholics who can’t live through quarantine without a drink, even when it lowers their defenses?”

Other readers beg to differ, concerned about the negative economic effects on the Mexican economy.

“The beer industry provides jobs for thousands and thousands of people here in Mexico from the folks at the breweries to the truck drivers to the depósitos and also the folks growing the many tons of rice, hops and barley used to make the beer. Sad state of affairs. So far, the depósitos are still open here in Sinaloa,” according to Dallas Autery.

“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, states the #ExPats website.

“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 percent.”

The restrictions placed on the sale of beer range from limited store hours in some states to down-right prohibition in others. Sonora and Campeche are included in the states limiting store hours, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. in the former, 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., in the latter. 

However in Tabasco state, one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, Governor Adan Adolfo Lopez has ordered total prohibition indefinitely for the sales of all alcoholic beverages. Most other restrictions coincide with Holy Week, possibly in an effort to discourage tourism during the period. 

“Although they don’t say so, I think another reason Nayarit is going “dry” is to stop the flow of folks from CDMX and Guadalajara from coming here for Holy Week vacations. They have closed all the beaches, and all access to the beach communities is blocked except to locals,” according to Expat John Chambers. 

For whatever the reasons, the COVID-19 pandemic is causing some drastic changes in people’s daily lives and severe economic upheaval, manifesting itself in new and bizarre ways that no one but a science fiction writer would have dreamed of a few weeks or months ago. 

Mexico is reporting 3,181 confirmed cases of Corona Virus as of April 8,2020 and 9,188 suspected cases. Among the reported confirmed cases are 19 members of the armed forces stationed in Tamaulipas. 

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