By Triana O’Keefe, editor Australian Hotelier
As of this week, new laws have come into effect across New South Wales that will see operators responsible for the policing of outdoor area smoking.
The Australian Hotels Association (AHA) NSW director of liquor and policing John Green has assured operators they “have been working closely with licensees across the state as well as NSW Health to make sure these measures are implemented with the least possible disruption”.
The latest changes to the Smoke-free Environment Act 2000 bans smoking in commercial outdoor dining areas and within four metres of pedestrian access to any licensed premise. Any patron caught in breach of the law will be subject to an on-the-spot fine of $300, while the operators will face a $5,500 fine for non-compliance.
The South Australian Government has also pledged its commitment to make outdoor dining areas smoke-free by July 2016 however, Health Minister Jack Snelling has made it clear venues will be allowed to serve ‘snack foods’ in outdoor areas where smoking is allowed – in line with Responsible Service of Alcohol requirements.
Snelling said after having a closer look at the new rules, the Government came to the decision that it was reasonable for licenced premises to be able to serve snacks in smoking areas.
“We made the announcement last year that smoking would be banned in all al fresco dining areas – and we think that is a good move because people should be able to enjoy a meal at a pub or cafe outside without having to put up with cigarette smoke,” he said.
“We have had a closer look, however, at what that will mean for [venues] that will opt to have two outdoor areas, one for people to be able to eat and drink in a smoke-free environment and a separate outdoor drinking area for smokers.
“We think it is a common-sense approach and responsible in terms of liquor licensing that an outdoor area in our pubs designated for smokers also has an option of snacks being provided such as chips and nuts.”