Bahrain: Shops, cafés and restaurants in the Northern Governorate will be ordered to close by midnight under a new decision approved by the Northern Municipal Council.
The council voted unanimously in favour of the move at its weekly meeting after receiving complaints from residents.
The decision has been referred to the ministries of Industry, Commerce and Tourism and Interior for immediate
Council chairman Mohammed Buhamood, however, opposed the move.
He said the world was moving towards having businesses open 24 hours a day as opposed to restrictions on opening and closing times.
“However, residents have complained of drivers honking in front of cold stores and restaurants and about people sitting in cafés and shouting as they smoke sheesha while watching television or playing cards and dominoes,” said Mr Buhamood.
“Police will find it difficult to enforce the midnight deadline, as it has happened in the past, with owners not abiding by the regulations or finding a way out.
“On the other hand, we may also have people complaining that they have to travel outside their areas to buy what they need after midnight.”
Mr Buhamood said the Industry, Commerce and Tourism Ministry will have to come up with special stickers in the next few days to give businesses, allowed to remain open beyond midnight, to put on their doors.
“I only hope that we don’t face a backlash,” he said, adding that the Bahrain Chamber for Commerce and Industry and the Northern Governorate security directorate had been consulted in the matter.
The decision follows a 1am deadline imposed on outlets in the Capital Governorate since last week.
Sources told the GDN that businesses wanting to stay open beyond 1am are being obliged to pay BD1,000 a year, which many have refused to do.
Capital Trustees Board chairman Mohammed Al Khozaie told the GDN that the decision was not taken by them but by the two ministries.