Ban on new coffee shop licences in Bahrain
Manama , June 15, 2008
A total ban has been slapped on new licences for coffee shops in the Central Governorate in Bahrain.
Transfer of ownership of existing coffee shops has also been banned, under a crackdown by the Central Municipal Council, which covers Isa Town, Sitra, East and West Riffa, A'Ali, Sanad and surrounding areas.
The decision follows widespread repeated complaints, which culminated in the closure of seven shops last month.
'Sheehsa is bad for health, so stopping new licences is a good thing, as it will protect people from getting smoking-related diseases,' said council vice-chairman Abbas Mahfoodh.
'I am very happy that municipality officials have committed a municipal violation by approving the new coffee shop in Nuwaidrat, because it gave us the opening we need to stop issuing any new permits.
'The health ministry and other concerned ministries will be also informed not to give a consent to anyone in our governorate, since no licences will be given any more.'
'The decision is forever and we have no plans to back down.'
The shopowners are currently facing court action, after breaking municipality seals and reopening for business.
Complaints from the Nuwaidrat residents that a new coffee shop had been licensed nearby their homes, without their knowledge, opened the door for the ban, say councillors.
A probe into the case has been also launched in co-operation with the municipality.
Municipality officials have promised to prosecute if officials are found to have given the licence unlawfully.
The council has also given the seven shops, which broke the seals and reopened, a week to remove tables and chairs from the pavements and streets, or else face municipal penalties.
The municipality closed the shops after repeated warnings, but they broke the locks the next day and reopened for business.
Their owners have been taken to court by the municipality and court hearings are still proceeding-TradeArabia News Service