Government backtracks on extended weekend bar hours following criticism
The government has reversed course on new rules to extend weekend bar hours following withering criticism from Catholic church, and businesses and residents in areas with high concentrations of bars and night clubs in Quito.
On Monday, the Ministries of Tourism and Interior on Monday announced new rules for liquor sales, the main one allowing sales on Sunday. The rules also allowed bars to remain open until 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. The ministries said the new rules were intended to encourage tourism and to revive the economy.
Following public criticism, the Ministry of Tourism said on Thursday that the extensions of weekend hours was a mistake. The ministry said that bars would be required to adhere to previous rules, requiring closure at 2 a.m. It said that other changes announced Monday, including the allowance of Sunday sales, remain in force.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the Quito Catholic Archdiocese said that extending weekend bar hours would lead to increased crime and inconvenience to the public. “There was a reduction in crime in 2010 when bar hours were restricted,” the spokesman said. “This unfortunate change by the government will now lead to an increase in crime. It will also pose noise nuisance problems and vandalism to residents living in neighborhoods located near bars.”