Omani authorities have announced stricter regulations on shisha cafés in the country. According to the new rules, shisha cafés must be at least 200 metres away from residential areas as well as governmental, education, health and religious buildings.
Only hotels rated as three stars or more are allowed to have a shisha permit license, but the restaurants which serve 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 and not be visible to visitors, the regulations say.
Individuals under the age of 18 are not allowed to smoke shisha and the restaurant should display signs indicating this rule.
Workers tasked with preparing shisha are not be involved in preparing the food. They should also wear a different uniform than other workers.
Water used for the shisha must be cold and changed regularly.
The tobacco used must be preserved in airtight containers and stored at temperatures specified by the manufacturer.
The coal used must be natural and not synthetic and it must be lit with natural gas.
A two-year grace period has been given to restaurants in order to comply with the new regulations.
In December, Oman banned the usage e-cigarettes and e-shisha after medical studies found they contained cancer-causing substances. Those found selling e-cigarettes or e-shisha can be slapped with a 500 Omani rial (Dh4,770) fine. The fine doubles for offenders who tend to repeat it.
Muscat City, which is also the capital of Oman currently has over 100 shisha cafés and is responsible for the income of many people as well.