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Plan to impose early closing time on city outlets triggers debate

By Muath Freij - Apr 09,2015 - Last updated at Apr 09,2015

AMMAN – The Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) has submitted an official letter to the government requesting its approval of a decision to enforce a fixed closing time for cafés, night clubs, carpentry shops and other places licensed as commercial  outlets in residential areas. 

The plan has triggered a debate, especially between residents on one hand, and owners of these businesses, on the other.

The letter, which was made available to The Jordan Times, states that the municipality has received numerous complaints of public nuisance filed by people living in these areas.

GAM suggested setting midnight during the summer and 11pm in winter as the closing time for these businesses, which also include wedding halls, liquor shops, argileh coffee houses and cafeterias. 

The letter cited violations to the licensing conditions some of these outlets have committed, including trespassing on sidewalks by restaurants, for example.  

GAM also plans to build fences around vacant plots of land it owns to prevent valet service companies from using them as parking lots.

Linda Khoury, owner of Fann wa Chai café in Jabal Luweibdeh, said that through the new instructions, GAM will “correct a mistake by another mistake”. 

“They should have not given licences to cafés near residential areas in the first place,” she told The Jordan Times. 

Shima Tal, a resident of Jabal Luweibdeh, said some of these cafés make it difficult for residents to find parking spaces in the area especially at night. 

Saleem Quna, the president of the Friends of Luweibdeh Cultural Association, said he does not fully support the decision. 

“GAM can ban some activities that annoy residents during the evenings; otherwise, it is not wise to force cafés to close at midnight. People like staying for late hours in the summer for entertainment and recreation.”

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