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New ‘party tax’ sparks anger in Yucatán

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Before the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, private party venues known as “locales” or “sala de fiestas” were booming. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

The new tax payable by venues hosting social events such as weddings, baptisms, and graduations comes at a cost of 1,506 pesos — or roughly US$75.

One venue administrator who preferred to remain anonymous described the new tax as “an unjust slap in the face to businesses already on the brink of going under.”

The state government, headed by Gov. Mauricio Vila Dosal, says this new fee is intended to better regulate social events and avoid the spread of COVID-19.

But many in the hospitality sector are wondering how exactly paying a tax or fee will help venues protect the public.

Earlier: 2 new, fast-spreading coronavirus strains found in Yucatán

“It is just plain laughable, and the worst part is that to pay this new tax you need to go through a whole bureaucratic process and pay in person at one of the government offices. I guess staying at home is not an option when it comes to paying these crooks,” said an anonymous source to Yucatan Magazine.

Payments need to be processed no fewer than five days before each event is held. Yucatán’s association of caterers and event organizers (Cabapy) has come out against the new fee, saying it will cost jobs and force the closure of several venues. 

Authorities say that they will dispatch inspectors to ensure that all events being held in the state comply with the new fee as well as procedures to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 infection. 

It is not clear if events such as parties held in private homes are required to pay the new fee, and if so, how large a party or reunion needs to be before it is considered a taxable event.

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