Cafes across several Gulf Arab states started selling coffee and other cold drinks in baby bottles this month, kicking off a action from officials.
The fad began at Einstein Cafe, a slick dessert chain with branches across the region, from Dubai to Kuwait to Bahrain.
Instead of ordinary paper cups, the cafe, inspired by pictures of trendy-looking bottles shared on social media, decided to serve its thick milky drinks in plastic baby bottles.
Dubai authorities launched a crack down. Inspection teams burst into cafes where the trend had taken off and handed out fines.
“Such indiscriminate use of baby bottles is not only against local culture and traditions,” read the government statement, “but the mishandling of the bottle during the filling could also contribute to the spread of COVID-19,” an apparent reference to those bringing their used bottles to other cafes.
Backlash also came from Kuwait, where the government temporarily shut down Einstein Cafe, and from Bahrain, where the Ministry of Commerce sent police armed with live cameras into cafes and warned all dining establishments that serving drinks in feeding bottles “violates Bahraini customs and traditions.”
Oman urged citizens to report baby bottle sightings to the Consumer Protection Authority hotline.