The ministry of economic development has designated 13 areas in Malé and the capital’s suburb Villimalé to license 24-hour shops, cafés and restaurants.
Shops and restaurants on 12 of the capital city’s main roads and the Vilimalé ferry terminal may obtain a two-year permit to operate round the clock, according to an an announcement on Monday.
Regulations were revised last month to allow shops and restaurants to stay open throughout the night and regulatory powers were assigned to the ministry for businesses in the atoll and for city and island councils elsewhere.
Permits would be issued for a MVR2,000 fee for businesses in the designated areas that meet certain conditions. Shops, restaurants, cafés and canteens must be well-lit, must have CCTV cameras, and the inside of the shop must be visible from the street.
Smoking would not be allowed from 1am to 4am and all businesses must have boards that indicate 4-hour service.
Fast-food franchises would not be eligible to apply for a permit.
Businesses that fail to abide by the rules would be penalised. First time offenders would have permits suspended for six months and permits would be cancelled for repeat offenders.
Licenses for 24-hour shops introduced by the previous Maldivian Democratic Party government were revoked in October 2012. It was intended to reduce crime, government officials said.
Under the previous administration, the closing time of shops was changed to 10pm and restaurants and cafés were required to close at midnight.
Introducing a new policy to allow 24-hour businesses was a pledge of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s first 100-day action plan.