No Liquor Served During Hurricane Ernesto in San Pedro: Is it a Problem?

San Pedro, Belize’s economy revolves around tourism.  No one can deny that.  I’d say that everyone who makes a living on this island does something directly or indirectly related to attracting visitors and making sure they have a good time when they are here.  That often involves the consumption of a cocktail or ten.

Over the last few days (I’m not sure if you heard!) we have been dealing with Category One Hurricane Ernesto.  Only a few days ago, it was projected to make a direct hit to our island.  We got lucky and it veered north.  But a full hurricane warning (the highest level of alert) was declared and we saw plenty of heavy winds and rain.

As part of the hurricane warning, NEMO (our emergency board both locally and countrywide) declared a ban on the sales of alcohol.

A few have suggested that this ban is ridiculous.  Are the powers that be suggesting that we will all go out and get plastered because there is storm coming? (I’ll admit…I was tempted)  Shouldn’t tourists who have spent their hard earning money to visit be able to enjoy a Pina Colada while waiting out the storm?

Well…no…and…I guess so…but…

Bottom line:  The ban is in place to keep everyone safe.  To keep tourists and locals in their houses during this type of weather rather than out on the streets bar hopping.  To let us all know that this is SERIOUS.  The ban is nothing new.  In fact, our neighbors in Mexico do the exact same thing.

Plus, we get plenty of warning…if you know that you will want a few glasses of wine during the storm, you can go buy a bottle before the ban goes into place.

And this ban isn’t just enacted during hurricanes.  Belize has a tradition of “dry days” for safety reasons and for respect.  Election Day is alcohol free in Belize as is Good Friday until the evening mass is completed.

Sure, these bans might be a bit old fashioned but it is tradition.   I think most American visitors (the bulk of the tourists here in Belize) have lived with liquor restrictions all of their lives.  Many states curtail sales on Sundays.  Many states (like the Carolinas and Florida) can also ban liquor sales when a hurricane is coming.  Hey, we even have entire dry counties in the US.

Visitors come to Belize to experience Belizean people, food, music, scenery and weather.  Odds are that weather will be be great but sometimes it’s not.  They visit to be in Belize.

And this is how things are done here.   Sure, it can be every so slightly annoying to forsake that Belikin or two with your lunch for one day (especially if the storm happens to pass us by).  But better safe than sorry, right?

Is it going to ruin your vacation?  Absolutely not.  You’ll be too busy telling your friends at home how you survived Hurricane Ernesto…and then tell them that you weren’t allowed to drink?  Oh the hardship!  Think of the sympathy you’ll garner.

Is this curtailing tourism in Belize?  My opinion?  No.  It’s keeping us all safe.

I would love to hear what you think.

  • I’ve been in Mexico a few times during liquor bans. Once during a Category 2 hurricane, and another time during an election. I have to say — I’ve never seen so many falling down drunks as during those two bans, especially leading up to and after the hurricane. People evidently stock up on booze in advance! Personally, I was more concerned with making sure I had cash, water, candles, and a treasure trove of Bimbo products.

  • Me

    L.A.B., you are right. Election day is a serious partying drinking fest here too. BTW, I am headed up in your direction next week…can’t wait!

  • Doesn’t matter at all to me — I’m not going to be going to bars during a hurricane anyway; I’ll drink at home, thank you!

  • Ban makes perfect sense. Dust off the auxiliary generator, change the oil and fill it before hunkering down with a decent malt whisky, cheese and crackers and watch Key West with Humphrey Bogarte. All part of the holiday experience.

  • I meant Key largo. Sorry, getting old.

  • Me

    Never seen that movie. Belize tends to like action movies, porn or Nigerian soap operas. How do you get movies in Angola? DON’T tell me you have stellar high speed internet. That’ll just make me mad.