Bahrain to move sheesha joints
Manama , June 12, 2010
Coffee shops serving sheesha in the Central Governorate in Bahrain will soon be moved to a specially designated location, away from residential areas.
The move, approved by the Central Municipal Council, will affect around 40 coffee shops currently serving sheesha at highly populated residential areas.
The council agreed the move during discussions on a different proposal by the Central Municipality.
It initially met to discuss the proposal to allow coffee shops to use pavements and streets to provide more seats for customers, on the condition they stop serving sheesha.
Municipality director general Dr Mohammed Hassan said that its proposal was based on a review of the situation, which revealed that most common violations made by coffee shops was violating the road usage law.
"This is why we thought we can bargain with them, allowing them to continue using the road in a way that doesn't affect traffic flow," he said.
"At the same time, introduce a condition to stop them from serving sheesha."
However, the council said that the proposal only allows coffee shops to bypass other laws restricting their activities in residential areas.
"Everyone has to follow the law with no conditions attached," said councillor Isa Al Qadhi.
"If we say they can use the road but not serve sheesha, we don't fix anything. This is because sheesha is their source of profit, so using the road or not doesn't matter."
The council suggested following the example of neighbouring countries like Saudi Arabia, which moved all sheesha coffee shops to a designated area away from residents.
"This way they can serve their sheesha under the law without bothering the residents," said Al Qadhi.
He said that he already spoke to owners on the suggestion and they expressed their consent if a land was allocated for them.
"I will be personally responsible to collect their signatures that they approve this move," said Al Qadhi.
The council also approved a proposal by councillor Adel Al Sitri to halt all new permits for sheesha coffee shops in the governorate until the proposal is implemented.
It directed the municipality to allocate a new location to accommodate coffee shops, initially proposing Salmabad. – TradeArabia News Service