Bar Owners Fuming Over New Hookah Law

“To mandate a certain percentage of sales is really ridiculous,” said Jeffrey García, vice president of the NY Latino Restaurant, Bar and Lounge Owners’ Association. (Photo by Gregg McQueen via The Bronx Free Press)

A new law that went into effect Monday bans establishments from serving non-tobacco hookah without a permit, reports Gregg McQueen in The Bronx Free Press. Dozens of restaurant and bar owners took to the steps of City Hall that day saying businesses need more time to meet the requirements or would end up having to close their doors.

Jeffrey García, vice president of the NY Latino Restaurant, Bar and Lounge Owners’ Association, a network of hundreds of city businesses, joined fellow members in protest of the new rules.

The group is calling on the city to alter the regulation for hookah permits, which required businesses to generate 50 percent of their revenue from hookah in order to be eligible for the permit.

“To mandate a certain percentage of sales is really ridiculous,” said García.

Elvis Silverio, President of the Owners’ Association, said the majority of establishments can’t meet that criteria and might have to lay off workers or shut down if they can’t sell hookah.

“We’re going to be closing hundreds of establishments,” he said. “We can’t combat with the city crisis in rent, the minimum wage increase next year and also with this bill.”

(…)

Enacted last year, the new law required businesses that wish to sell hookah to apply for permits between April 16 and October 22, 2018, to raise the minimum age for the purchase of hookah to 21 years old and to post warning signs provided by the New York City Health Department, describing the risks of hookah use.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*