133 Dubai shisha cafes fined, 8 shut for violating COVID-19 rules

The Dubai Municipality had laid out stringent measures for the cafes to follow so as to keep patrons safe

  
People sit at a cafe in Boxpark, one of Dubai's newest retail districts along Dubai's Al Wasl Road, UAE April 2, 2016.

People sit at a cafe in Boxpark, one of Dubai's newest retail districts along Dubai's Al Wasl Road, UAE April 2, 2016.

REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

About 133 shisha cafes in Dubai were fined and eight others ordered shut after municipal inspectors spotted several violations related to Covid-19 precautionary guidelines. Other violations included using expired tobacco products and allowing those aged under 18 years inside smoking areas.

Dubai had allowed shisha cafes to reopen from July 18 after months of closure as a precautionary measure against the spread of the coronavirus. The Dubai Municipality had laid out stringent measures for the cafes to follow so as to keep patrons safe.

The civic body said it had conducted 1,228 inspection visits. About 88 per cent of the cafes were found to be in compliance with the safety measures.

Some cafes failed to ensure physical distancing, with inspectors finding crowds inside and no distance between tables. Some cafes allowed shisha sharing between patrons, while others had multiple-use pipes instead of single-use ones.

Other violations included serving shisha without a permit; lack of ventilation in the smoking area; and failure to operate air conditioning systems.

Mandatory safety measures

Some of the precautionary measures to keep cafe employees and patrons safe include:

> Customers are not allowed in the smoking area for more than three hours.

> Employees have to wash hands before and after providing the service

> Temperature checks for employees; and denying entry to patrons and staff with Covid symptoms

> Cafes must have an isolation room for suspected cases

> All parts of the shisha, including pipes, must be cleaned and disinfected before and after each use

> Cafe managements must ensure that a safe physical distance of two metres is maintained throughout

> Tables must be set two metres apart, with a maximum of five seats per table in the smoking area

> Gatherings or parties are not allowed.

> Employees are not allowed to test the shisha before offering it to the customer

> Cafes must provide containers for medical waste such as masks and gloves

> Hand sanitisers must be provided in different areas of the cafe.

> The cafes are allowed to provide valet parking services provided preventive measures specified for this service are followed.

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