SMOKING outside at restaurants, cafes and pubs will be banned completely in Victoria, Health Minister David Davis announced on Monday, in a move that has left Ballarat operators angry.
The Western Hotel owner Dan Cronin said he was frustrated at the implementation of the ban in what he called a “turnaround” from the state government.
“We spent a lot of money on works that comply with local and state regulations, and a turnaround saying it is now banned is disappointing,” he said.
Beyond saying the ban would apply to “outdoor dining areas”, Mr Davis did not release details of the plan, or when it would be implemented.
He said in a statement he would soon start a consultation process with stakeholders to “ensure businesses and groups affected by the outdoor dining (smoking) ban have an opportunity to discuss its implications”.
Seymour’s and Freight owner Chris Sargent said the ban would be damaging for his businesses.
“If people couldn’t come and have a drink and a smoke it’ll have a huge effect,” he said.
“It was a great thing when they banned smoking inside, but this is more of a deterrent for people out to places.”
Mr Cronin said the ban would also push people out onto the street, resulting in more mess and cause problems for passers-by.
But the move looks set to be popular with the public, with a June Victorian Cancer Council survey finding 73 per cent of people were in favour of an outdoor smoking ban.
The Australian Medical Association Victoria said in a statement it was supportive of the ban, but wanted a more comprehensive ban on places people could smoke.
“Minister Davis must provide immediate clarification on the timeframe for the ban’s implementation and confirm that it will apply to all venues in Victoria,” said AMA Victoria president Dr Tony Barton.
“Smoking in outdoor dining areas affects not just the health of patrons, but also the health of all the employees who work in these venues.”