Legal loopholes

Local bar owner allows restroom service at a price’

Editorial Staff
October 2, 2008

When Eby Mozafari, a Kurdish Iranian bar owner in the Arco di San Pierino neighbourhood, fitted the bar's bathroom door handle with a coin machine last week, his intention was to protest the ordinance recently passed by Palazzo Vecchio, which obliges all bar and restaurant owners to allow paying and non-paying visitors to use their restroom facilities.


Charging 50 cents for the use of the restroom did not go unnoticed. Mozafari argues that it is his right to charge patrons for use of the restroom: ‘The bathroom in my bar? I'll open it to everybody but for a price, unless they are disabled, pregnant, local residents or children under 12 years old. I don't understand why I should offer a free service that in fact costs me 50 cents'.


He has rallied the backing of two local employer's associations, the Confcommercio and the Consferescenti, and is also collecting signatures in San Pierino for a petition he will present to city officials.


The matter is one of correctly interpreting the law. The municipal law specifies only that local bar and restaurant owners must provide the service, not that the service has to be free. ‘The laws don't say that we can't charge, and the can't fine us for it: I don't know why people must pay 60 cents to use the bathrooms at the train station but in my bar the service has to be granted for free', argues Mozafari.


Safety superintendent Graziano Cioni initially threatened to fine bar owners who charged patrons for restroom services, but has recently backed down, stating he is willing to explore possible solutions with disgruntled merchants. 



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