(MENAFN - Arab News) The Jeddah mayoralty had set a grace period that ends today for cafes and restaurants in the city to stop serving shisha to costumers.
The ban will affect 238 restaurants and cafes reported to face an 80 percent drop in their revenue. These cafes would make a daily revenue of 7 to 10 thousand riyals from shisha alone.
The ban has only recently been enforced, with Riyadh and other cities having implemented this years ago. Shisha lovers now have to drive to cafes outside the city to smoke as the decision also applies to residential areas.
Abdul Aziz Al-Nahari, spokesman for the Jeddah mayoralty, said this is an application of the ministry of interior's decision to protect public health and that such measures have been applied internationally.
Arab News met with caf owners who denounced the decision as 'shocking'.
One shop owner said that his loss stands at about 85 percent. He used to make SR 7,000 on a daily basis but since the ban, he is only averaging SR 1,500 a day.
He said cafes now would not have as many costumers as they used to.
Indeed, cafes have been partially empty over the past two days. A caf waiter expressed to Arab News his fear of losing his job because of the ban.
Ahmed Amir, a well-known caf owner in Sitteen Street, said that mayoralty employees raided the caf next door and got his waterpipes confiscated in a truck. He said some cafes have since fired their employees to reduce expenses.
Amir said he himself bought the caf last summer for SR 250,000 but the sudden ban on the shisha bore a heavy burden for him.
"Now, I only serve beverages, which don't cover employees salaries, bills or rent."