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CUENCA DIGESTStock up on the hooch! Sunday’s parliamentary election triggers weekend alcohol sales restriction

Sunday’s national parliamentary election means sales of alcoholic beverages, either in bars and restaurants or, in stores, are suspended from noon on Friday, June 12, until after polls close on Sunday, June 14.

The idea behind the dry period, as defined in Article 140 of Ecuador’s election law, is that citizens will make better decisions in the voting booth if they are sober. Supporters of the measure, however, have never produced evidence for the supposition, in Ecuador or any other country.

PEDESTRIANS BEWARE! POLICE TO BEGIN TICKETING JAYWALKERS

The National Police say their pedestrian education program will end in two weeks and police will begin ticketing violators.

Part of Ecuador’s new Law of Land Transportation, Traffic and Road Safety, the pedestrian rules will mean fines of $10 for most offenses, such as jaywalking. Offenders will be required to show identification and will be accompanied by police to their home or hotel if they are not carrying ID. Stiffer penalties will apply for pedestrian negligence resulting in traffic accidents and injuries.

National Police statistics indicate that 10% of traffic accidents are caused by negligent pedestrians.

Among the points police emphasize in the pedestrian education program are: crossing at designated crosswalks; staying on the sidewalks where possible; avoiding tunnels and bridges that do not have sidewalks; and walking sober. The sobriety standard, according to police, means you should not walk if you’ve had more than two drinks. A police officer, who asked to be unnamed, said it was unlikely that pedestrians will be subjected to sobriety breath tests.

BUSINESS CONFIDENCE REMAINS HIGH IN CUENCA AND AZUAY PROVINCE

Azuay Province continues to buck the national trend of declining business confidence. According to Central Bank data, Azuay’s Business Confidence Index (ECI) increased from 184.4 points in March to 210 in April, marking the first time in the 12-year history of the index that the 200 point barrier was breached. The Azuay index contrasted with a 22 point drop in business confidence for Ecuador as a whole. 

The greatest optimism came in the industrial sector, well ahead of the trade and services sector, which showed slight declines. Confidence in the construction sector was also strong.

A spokesperson for the Azuay Chamber of Commerce said he was confident that numbers would remain strong for the foreseeable future. “We are aware of the international pressures on the economy but we believe we will avoid much of the pain being experienced in other parts of the world.”