(MENAFN - Arab News) More than 70 coffee shops have been closed down by Jeddah municipalities for violating the ban on smoking in public places that was issued three months ago, said spokesman for Jeddah mayor's office Abdulaziz Al-Nahari.
He said the city is enforcing the ban and will not tolerate those who break the law. He rejected allegations officials have been lenient with violators.
He said 200 inspectors have been carrying out daily inspections in the city's 14 municipalities. Several coffee shops and cafeterias were officially warned and fined SR 600. The warning is final and if an establishment does not comply within a week, it will be closed.
He said there are 350 coffee shops and cafeterias licensed to serve shisha and allow smoking. "Coffee shops and cafeterias are spread all over the city and the mayor's office cannot assign an inspector to each one. Unfortunately many places have not complied (with the ban)."
Al-Nahari called on the public to cooperate with municipalities and report violations. All whistleblowers shall remain anonymous, he added.
Many places have obtained licenses to allow smoking in open spaces attached to their properties, he said.