Elected officials push for hookah sales, smoking to become part of outdoor dining

The New York State Latino Restaurant Bar and Lounge Association is calling on the city to allow hookah sales and smoking while dining outdoors.

News 12 Staff

Oct 22, 2020, 12:00 AM

Updated 1,316 days ago

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The New York State Latino Restaurant Bar and Lounge Association is calling on the city to allow hookah sales and smoking while dining outdoors.
They say it could help struggling businesses that profit off hookah sales. 
Councilmembers Fernando Cabrera and Antonio Reynoso say their new hookah bill will right a wrong. They are proposing that only 25% of sales come from hookah for restaurants that choose to sell it.
The current hookah bill in place requires 50% of the revenue to come from hookah sales.
“Now, in a time when the pandemic had hit businesses the absolute hardest, we have been tasked with being creative, being smart, and thinking outside of the box. It's about allowing these restaurants to once again engage in the selling of hookah,” said Reynoso.
“This is going to serve as a lifeline for our businesses because if we don't, we are going to find an unprecedented amount of people who work in restaurants and hospitality lose their jobs,” said Cabrera.
Cabrera says he’s hopeful that this bill will be passed in a few weeks.
William Padilla, the owner of Mamajuana Cafe in the Bronx, says his sales have decreased significantly during the pandemic and that he thinks every dollar could help.
He says he’s had to turn down selling hookah to several customers who have asked for it.
“It's an additional item you have to offer the public. In these days, in our communities, it's something that people want,” said Padilla.


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