After the province shut down a Winnipeg hookah lounge for breaking public health orders, the owner has made the decision to reopen with no hookahs – a decision he said means no customers.
On Friday, the province announced it had shut down 7 Arabian Dreams, a hookah lounge located at 775 Corydon Avenue. It was shut down for failing to comply with emergency public health orders that ban the use of hookah.
The lounge has previously been handed six tickets, each worth $2,542 for breaking health orders.
Amanjot Bajwa, the owner of the lounge, told CTV News on Thursday provincial health inspectors shut the restaurant down and said he would not be allowed to reopen until all hookahs were removed from the building.
"They told us to remove them, because they told us if those things are still there, we cannot open even for food or liquor," Bajwa said.
"The thing is if we stop serving it, then our business is almost done, like we lose everything."
Bajwa said he complied with the inspectors and has removed the hookahs. He said 7 Arabian Dreams re-opened on Friday.
"We opened, but there are no customers," he said. "Right now even if you want to come to my store – it is just me. There are no customers. It is very depressing."
He said the province told him he would face more fines if they start serving hookah again.
CALLS FOR GUIDELINES AROUND HOOKAH
Bajwa said he would like to see more guidelines around the safe use of hookah, as opposed to it being banned completely.
He said customers use separate mouthpieces, and added he could make sure there is only one hookah per customer.
"We can follow those guidelines, but banning something is not the solution," he said.