Puerto Rico Uses Disaster to Hammer Its Bars with a Booze Ban: New at Reason

La Taberna LupuloFor people trapped in Puerto Rico's post-hurricane disaster, ending a stressful day with a nice stiff drink may sound like a perfect way to relax and maybe spend time with others that wasn't all about dealing with the recovery.

Unfortunately, food policy writer Baylen Linnekin discovered, the governor of Puerto Rico decided to respond to the crisis by banning all bars from serving liquor. This made the crisis even worse for the island's bar owners:

Like the rest of Puerto Rico, though, La Taberna L├║pulo is struggling to get by after the island was slammed by Hurricane Maria. The bar has no water or electricity.

But that's just the half of it. The bar also has had no way to make money, thanks to a curfew and to a bizarre decision by Ricardo Rossell├│, Puerto Rico's governor, to prohibit most alcohol sales on the island. Indefinitely.

"We tried to open in a limited capacity but between the curfew, the dry law and the inability to get fuel, we found it hard to staff the bar and impossible to justify being open as anything other than a meeting spot for folks who had nothing to do but wander the streets looking to share stories," they posted on Facebook this week. "In short, we were hemorrhaging money."

Penalties for violating the alcohol ban were steep: six months loss of license to sell alcohol. Several bars on the island were punished for ignoring the ban.

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