Restaurant owners in Guadalajara say that enforcement of an anti-noise law in the city is seriously affecting investment and employment in the food service sector.
Aldo Alejandro de Anda García, Jalisco president of the national restaurant association Canirac, told the newspaper El Economista that closing restaurants for violating noise regulations puts dozens of people out of work and affects investments of millions of pesos.
For example, de Anda said, a Sonora Grill in the Providencia neighborhood of Guadalajara that was closed almost a month ago left 80 to 100 employees without work. He said over 50 million pesos (US $2.6 million) had been invested in the restaurant.
According to the municipal government, officials had received numerous noise complaints about the Sonora Grill before it was closed.
But de Anda said actions being take by authorities would indicate they are more focused on damaging the industry.
“Like these anti-noise operations they’ve been doing, where they bring five squad cars, 15 to 20 officers and dogs.”
De Anda said in April there had been no cases of abuse since anti-noise operations began but given “the security situation,” the sight of police cars and a large contingent of officials scares customers away.
In one case, he said, the mayor led an anti-noise operation in which many police officers and other officials entered restaurants to check noise levels.
Such operations scare guests who justly believe there is something more going on than a simple noise inspection, he said.
De Anda said that Canirac is willing to negotiate with the government to address the problem of noise at restaurants.
“We’re willing to work together, to have discussions, for them to tell us which places have been reported, where the problems are,” said de Anda. “We can have a dialogue with them, and if the dialogue doesn’t work, we can talk about sanctions.”
Under Guadalajara’s municipal law, businesses that generate more than 65 decibels of noise face a minimum fine of 2,500 pesos. Repeat offenders will face larger fines and can have their restaurant licenses suspended or revoked.
The anti-noise law applies to the entire municipality of Guadalajara, but the city has been focusing enforcement in Chapultepec, López Cotilla and Providencia.