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How Adelaide pubs are getting ready for outdoor smoking ban

PUBLICANS and restaurant owners across Adelaide are bracing for a drop-off in business when new outdoor smoking bans come into place in a few weeks time.

But they hope the pain will be short-lived.

We headed out across suburban Adelaide to see how our pubs are readying themselves for the change.

NORWOOD publicans and restaurant owners are bracing for a slight downturn in business when smoking is banned in all outdoor dining areas from next month.

But they say the long-term benefits of the new statewide law, which starts on July 1, will outweigh the short-term pain.

Cafe Buongiorno co-owner Ronald Anderson said while the ban may turn smokers away in the short term, he expected an increase in patronage over time.

“It stops us and others from worrying about what areas are smoking and what areas are non smoking,” Mr Anderson said.

“I think it will make it more comfortable for families to sit outside … so that will be a winner.”

The Bath Hotel owner Tony Franzon said some smokers may be put off by the new laws but he expected business to quickly return to normal.

“History shows that any time you change the goalpost of something, it has a detrimental effect,” Mr Franzon said.

“It’s probably not going to be as bad because it’s been a phase in, and less people smoke.”

Norwood Hotel manager Vanessa Swift was unsure how the law would affect business.

“We will just have to deal with it,” Ms Swift said.

“We have two outdoor dining areas and we might turn one of those areas into a smoking-only area and patrons won’t be able to eat in that area.”

Cafe Bravo patron Julia Conte, of Kensington Park, said the new law could help smokers reduce the number of cigarettes they had each day.

“It absolutely won’t stop me from dining outdoors,” Ms Conte, a smoker, said.

“It just means we will smoke less … it’s a positive thing.”

Fay Wilton, a nonsmoker and patron of Danny’s Thai Bistro, said cafes should cater for smokers.

“My husband smokes … there should be an area right back away from where people eat,” Mrs Wilton said.

The law will come into effect about 18 months after Norwood, Payneham & St Peters Council agreed to lobby the State Government to introduce a smoking ban on The Parade.

The council was yet to approach the government on the issue, saying it would wait at least until the end of the year because it wanted to assess the impact of the statewide ban in outdoor dining areas.

It had not decided whether a ban would take in all of The Parade or just the main retail section between Osmond Tce and Portrush Rd.

SA Health’s director of health protection Chris Lease said businesses who chose to divide outdoor areas into smoking and nonsmoking sections would need to build a wall of at least two metres high.

HE State Government’s decision to ban smoking in all outdoor areas has attracted a mixed reaction from Mitcham’s pub and cafe owners.

From July 1, smoking will be banned in all alfresco dining areas where food is served.

Artisan Cafe owner Heather Holmes-Ross said the blanket ban was an “over-reaction”.

“I can understand why people wouldn’t want (smoking) at busy trade times like lunch, but it is quite a pity that smokers can’t go and have a cigarette anywhere,” Ms Holmes-Ross said.

“It is a pity that it can’t be outside of peak hours.”

Businesses must display signs alerting customers to the ban or face a $1250 fine, while people caught smoking in the area could be fined up to $200.

Ms Holmes-Ross said the new rules would impact the atmosphere of her Blackwood cafe.

“To be forced to put no smoking signs around the place it makes me feel a little cross and an invasion of my right to decorate my cafe the way that I want to,” she said.

A local pub manager, who did not want to be identified, said the changes would be detrimental to his hotel’s large outdoor dining area.

“We live in a democracy anyway and people should be able to have some freedoms as smoking is still legal,” the manager said.

“It has been working very well at our business before this legislation came in.” However, Torrens Arms Hotel manager Tom Marshall said the ban was understandable.

“It will really help to promote a family-friendly venue, especially for people who are looking to dine outside,” Mr Marshall said. “The hardest part for us will be the transitional period when it comes into effect.”

Smoking will still be allowed in outdoor areas where pre-packaged snacks, such as chips and nuts, are available.

SA Health’s director of health protection Chris Lease said businesses who chose to divide outdoor areas into smoking and nonsmoking sections would need to build a wall of at least two metres high.

Substance Abuse minister Leesa Vlahos said the changes would provide a safe space for all patrons.

“These new laws help keep downward pressure on smoking rates, and help improve the health of the community,” she said.

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