Temporary ban on new licenses for street vendors, sheesha cafes

Muscat: The Muscat Municipality has issued a circular (3/2020) temporarily suspending licenses for street vendors, sheesha cafés and sale of tobacco products, based on the Muscat Municipality Law that regulates the health-related activities.

Article 1 states no new licenses will be issued for sheesha cafés and tobacco selling activities, while Article 2 states new licenses for street vendors will be issued. It may be noted that a study is underway to identify designated sites for street vendors to do business.

It may be noted that the local order 219/2019 issued in November specified the requirements for operation and maintenance of sheesha cafés.

‘Sheesha cafés must be at least 150m away from residential areas as well as government, educational, health, and religious buildings.

Only hotels in the three-star or higher category are allowed to obtain a permit for sheesha. These hotels must ensure that restaurants offering the product must not be located at the main entrance and should have a separate entrance from outside the hotel.  The restaurant must be fully enclosed, with a proper ventilation system. Youth under the age of 18 are not allowed to smoke sheesha and the restaurant should display signs indicating this rule.

The civic body had issued a decision regulating the street vending businesses. vendors must set up their carts at least 200m away from residential areas as well as governmental, education, health and religious buildings. The decision also lists sites where the street vendors and mobile cafés can do business.

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