Mobile coffee shops set to get boost

Muscat, Sept 25 – The Muscat Municipality on Monday took a decision that will encourage the setting up of mobile coffee shops at public and tourist places. At the same time, it has laid out stringent guidelines to be followed with regards to health safety standards.
As per the details available, the municipality has issued a decision that amends some of the provisions for regulating activities concerning public health.
The new decision, 2017/185 will come into effect from the date of its publication in the official gazette.
The new rule pertains to guidelines set for the operation of mobile coffee shops in the city, for which licence will be issued on a yearly basis.
The decision says mobile coffee shops shall not operate unless the requisite licence has been obtained as per the municipality’s regulations.
The coffee shops will be allowed to carry out operations in public places such as beaches, holiday destinations, public venues and parks after obtaining approvals from the authorities concerned.
The rules say the distance between a proposed mobile coffee shop and the nearest ‘restaurant’ should not be less than 200 metres in all directions.
It calls for only electrical cookers to be used for preparing foodstuff to be sold at the coffee shop so that use of oil for frying can be avoided.
The mobile coffee shops will be allowed to sell ready-to-eat foods such as cakes, prepared sweets, cheese dumplings, ready-made pizza slices, sandwiches and biscuits, along with bottled milk, mineral water, salads and bottled milk and fresh juices. Sale of any other foodstuff not approved by the municipality will be prohibited.
The name of the shop along with details such as the licence and commercial registration numbers should be displayed at an appropriate place, to be clearly visible for the customers.
Employees should be allowed to sleep in the coffee shop and tables must be made of corrosion-free materials.
These shops should have a tank for collecting wastewater, fluorescent light fixtures, a sealed door that can be opened from both inside and outside and adequate ventilation, including air-conditioners.
The shop windows should be fitted with a protective cover near the counters to prevent contaminants from entering the window.

Vinod Nair