Muscat: Smokers lighting up in commercial centres and other closed public areas face stiff fines as smoking curbs come into effect in the sultanate's capital city.
A host of so-called ‘closed public places', such as shopping malls, restaurants, coffee shops, and industrial and commercial establishments, effectively become ‘no-smoking zones' under Muscat Municipality's new crackdown on tobacco use.
Violators are liable to be fined 100 Omani riyals (Dh950) if caught smoking in restricted areas. Repeat violations attract fines as high as 200 riyals on the second offence, while third-time offenders face up to 300 riyals in fines, civic officials revealed.
Private establishments deemed lax in enforcing the new curbs face penalties too. After an initial slap-on-the-wrist, owners are liable to pay fines and even risk having their establishments ordered shut for periods ranging from three to seven days.
In extreme cases, offending establishments can also have their licences permanently cancelled under the new law, say officials.
Establishments covered by the new measure are also obliged to display ‘No Smoking Zone' signs, in English and Arabic, all around their premises. However, smoking in such establishments is permitted only in designated ‘smoking zones', which may be set up some distance away from the main premises.