Few ruffles over new smoke laws
By PETER CATON
TWEED publicans and their customers remain relaxed about new laws which ban smoking near the bar from today.
Staff and managers expect most smokers to happily move back at least the required 1.5 metres, with smoking at the bar itself already banned.
Some said most did already, with many pubs now requiring customers to keep service areas clear anyway. Many bars are designed with tables away from the bar itself.
From today it will be illegal to smoke near a bar or food-service area, while all pubs and clubs will have to have at least one smoke-free room from July.
The rules are part of a gradual phasing-in of smoking restrictions which will see smoking banned in enclosed spaces in pubs, clubs and other licensed premises from July 2007.
In Murwillumbah Ingrid Hanley of the Imperial Hotel said the new restrictions should cause few problems as smokers already could not smoke at the bar and would simply have to stay back at the tables.
However she said the requirement for hotels to have at least one smoke-free room from July could cause some hotels difficulties. The Imperial would possibly make its TAB area smoke-free.
Chinderah Tavern publican Laing Lehfeldt said the new law would make little difference at his establishment, which had huge open-air spaces and where most drinkers already stood or sat away from the bar.
But he said stricter laws later in the year might cause problems.