Morocco Arrests Fez Police Officer for Managing Illegal Shisha Cafe


Rabat – Security services in Fez have arrested six suspects, including a police officer, for violating Morocco’s state of health emergency and managing unauthorized shisha (hookah) cafes.

The security operation on Monday targeted two cafes that served shishas without authorization and did not respect the safety measures imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Fez.

Police officers found 15 customers who did not respect social distancing in the first cafe. They also confiscated 15 shishas, said a statement from the General Directorate of National Security (DGSN).

Meanwhile, the second cafe serving shishas without authorization hosted 10 customers who did not comply with Fez’s strict COVID-19 safety measures.

The customers paid fines of MAD 300 ($33) for violating the state of health emergency. The arrested suspects, however, will face more complicated charges.

The detainees include the manager of the first cafe, who is a police officer. Police also arrested the co-owner of the second cafe and four waitresses working in the two cafes.

According to DGSN, the waitresses served their customers without taking any safety precautions against the spread of COVID-19.

Monday’s operation is part of several security operations across Morocco to ensure the compliance of businesses — especially restaurants and cafes — with safety regulations. The unexpected inspections often result in the detection of safety violations.

A similar inspection campaign in Casablanca in late August led to the closure of several famous restaurants and cafes along the Ain Diab coastline. The restaurants remained closed for more than one week and their owners had to pay significant fines.

Fez, Casablanca, and other cities are currently under strict lockdown due to COVID-19. Local authorities have imposed limited opening hours, curfews, and bans on several activities.

Authorities reimposed strict measures in Fez on July 27 and in Casablanca on September 7.