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119 Dubai cafes shut down for shisha violations

Sarah Jacotine, January 17th, 2017

Dubai Municipality has asked the Economic Development Department not to renew licenses of 119 cafés in Dubai, and to close their activities, for violating the terms of the Federal Law on Tobacco Control.

This is according to Eng. Redha Salman, Director of Occupational Health and Safety Department of the Municipality, who also said in a statement that that 571 cafés have been issued fines during an inspection campaign carried out by the inspectors of the department to ensure their compliance to the law, which contains several rules and regulations, notably the one regarding the area of the cafés.

“The law prohibits offering shishas in cafés near mosques, educational institutions, clubs and residential areas; offering Shishas without permission; violating items in the permits; and the presence of children less than 18 years inside the cafés,” said Salman.

He pointed out that the Municipality has launched inspection campaigns on cafés in Dubai to ensure compliance to the provisions of the Federal Law No. (15) of 2009 on Tobacco Control and its Executive Order No. 24 of 2013 after it entered into force.

Salman said the Municipality will go according to plan for strict control and inspection regarding compliance to the Executive Regulations of the Law and the expiry of deadline (six months) for establishments and cafés to adjust their positions, according to the approved terms of the Federal Law.

He added that Dubai Municipality has prepared an implementation mechanism and action plan for the Federal Law.

“We will cover shisha cafés operating in all regions of the Emirate of Dubai by conducting a field survey of them. The first phase will be the regulating of shisha smoking in cafés and restaurants located near educational institutions, schools, kindergartens, places of worship, hospitals and residential neighborhoods. We will take action on shops that are non-compliant with the area requirements,” said Salman.

He said the second phase will be regulating shisha smoking in cafés located in shopping areas, malls, hotel facilities and private areas for development, as well as areas that do not meet other planning conditions, and shops that are non-compliant with the area requirements.

“The owners of eligible establishments and cafés were directed to submit e-applications through the Public Health and Safety Department page of Dubai Municipality website to obtain a permit by submitting the required documents using the self-service for getting permit for designated smoking areas,” said Salman.

He revealed that the Public Health and Safety Department will consider the applications and decide on issuing permits for designated smoking to the establishments and cafés that meet the requirements of the Federal Law No. 15 of 2009 and its executive regulations.

“Fines were issued on non-compliant cafés, which did not respond to the notices and warnings repeatedly, as per the approved terms of the Federal Law and Local Order No. 11 of 2003 regulating smoking,” stated Salman.

“Rules and regulations are in places for offering shisha in interior halls of shisha cafés. According to the conditions contained in the law, the shops must be located on the main streets in areas classified as commercial or commercial-residential. The space inside the shop should not be less than 200 Sq meters, and the distance between the shop (restaurant/café) and residential buildings, neighborhoods, homes, kindergartens, schools, institutes, colleges and universities should not be less than 150 metres.

“The distance between the shop (restaurant/café) and the mosques and places of worship should not be less than 100 meters. The interface of the shop should be with a direct view on to the main street, and it should have a separate external entrance as per the approved basic design of the building. It should be isolated from the rest of the buildings, and the entrance to the shop should be away from the main entrance of the neighboring buildings or shops,” he commented.

He stressed that the Dubai Municipality working teams are continuing to apply the implementation plan of the Federal Law, which would not exclude cafés and restaurants located in the free zones.

“The inspection campaign included all the cafés and restaurants of the emirate without exception. It is unfair to withdraw licenses of the non-compliant cafés that fall outside the free zones, and at the same time allowing cafés within those areas to offer Shishas,” Salman noted.

He stressed that the Dubai Municipality still receives requests for licenses to offer Shishas in cafés and restaurants.

“We study those requests and approve those who meet the requirements of the law, and reject other requests until they adjust the conditions of those cafés,” said Salman, pointing out that most of the irregularities are regarding lack of space in the cafés.

He also stressed that the Municipality has received good respond to its call for better conditions in the cafés and the inspection campaigns and warnings have contributed towards creating an increased awareness among owners and operators of cafés and restaurants.