Owner of lounge says curfew will only cause more problems

Posted at 5:38 PM, Sep 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-27 00:35:59-04

The city of Bakersfield is discussing putting a curfew on hookah lounges in hopes of stopping recent violence occurring in the early morning hours at the lounges.

As you might imagine, the local hookah lounges are not happy with the potential change to their hours.

Yousef Harb, the co-owner of Cloud 9 Hookah Lounge, says closing the lounges at 2 a.m. will only bring more problems.

"It's not going to help us because if we close at 2, the crowd is still going to be there, it's going to push a much bigger crowd at 2 rather than pushing out the few that are left at 4," Harb said.

Those bigger crowds can present more problems and Harb believes the lounges do their best to provide safety.

"If the person did in fact enter the establishment, we would have no problem with it being recorded because if happened in our establishment, we take responsibility for it," Harb said.

"However, if it happened outside, there is only so much we can do."

Harb says hookah is getting a bad rap for instances that are outside of the lounges' control.

"If you aim to just actually do what hookah is about, which is just smoking, having a good time with friends, then you shouldn't be encountering any of these problems to begin with."