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Smoke-free rules force dining rethink

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New smoke-free outdoor dining laws being introduced by the State Government are forcing Adelaide’s hospitality businesses to rethink where their patrons can light up.

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From July 1, the laws will ban smoking in outdoor dining areas while food is being served, with the Government this month releasing guidelines for hospitality businesses.

Sam Thomas, manager of The Austral Hotel on Rundle Street, said the change might affect the iconic East End hotel’s drinking culture, as smoking patrons would no longer be able to spill out onto the footpath where people are eating.

However, he said a potential resolution would be to move the outdoor dining area from the front of the pub to the balcony.

“It’s a good opportunity to make use of the balcony and channel people upstairs.

“The impact [on businesses] will depend on how everything goes once it’s implemented.”

Although InDaily has been told by the Government that patrons will be permitted to smoke in outdoor areas once food service has concluded, Tony Rocca, owner of Schnithouse, also on Rundle Street, said he was yet to receive further clarification about the detail of the laws.

Like many other venues in the CBD with only one outdoor area available to both diners and smokers, Rocca must decide which will take priority.

Will Taylor, manager of The Elephant British Pub in Cinema Place, welcomes the changes and believes they won’t harm his business.

“There is a general consensus that people aren’t put out by not smoking in licensed premises,” he said.

Taylor said the move would help make smoking less acceptable in public places.

“It [the smoke] encroaches on personal space.”

Some Adelaide restaurants, such as Peel St in the West End, have already introduced smoke-free outdoor areas ahead of the licensing change.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Minister Leesa Vlahos said the new laws were being introduced after significant consultation with the community, businesses and key health groups in an effort to reduce the number of South Australians who smoke.

“Smoke-free laws, along with other Government initiatives such as anti-smoking advertising, are helping to keep smoking rates down and improve the health of our community,” Vlahos said.

Sally Neville, deputy CEO of Restaurants and Catering Australia, said that just like the indoor smoking laws, it would take time for people to adjust to the smoke-free outdoor dining laws.

“I think there will be an adjustment period where people come to terms with what it means for their businesses, but when they get used to it, it will be simple.”

A media campaign will begin in May to raise public awareness and help smokers avoid a fine of up to $200 for smoking in outdoor dining areas.

More information about smoke-free areas can be found here.

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