The smoking ban
The much talked about smoking ban will come into force on 1 st July 2007. From this date no smoking will be allowed in offices, factories, shops, pubs, bars, restaurants, clubs, public transport and work vehicles used by more than one person. Even previously allocated smoking rooms will not be allowed under the new legislation. In basic terms anyone who wishes to smoke in a public place must go outside. Whilst the ban is just over 5 months away employers are already planning how to implement the new legislation. It is a matter for individual choice whether to establish an outside smoking area or ban smoking on the premises entirely. This will often be a balancing act between a potential loss of revenue and the cost of making premises compliant.
In reaching a decision 2 factors have to be taken into account: If an outside area for smoking is to be established the legislation, in broad terms, states that it must either have no roof or a have a roof and be less than 50% walled. This brings with it issues of planning (it may be necessary to apply for change of use as well as planning permission for the structure) and Landlord’s consent, both of which could be costly. If there is already an existing outside area there may only be a need to put out some ashtrays and chairs and a few umbrella’s together perhaps with outside heaters to cope with the inclement British climate.
Owners of licensed premises will need to consider whether they need to apply for a variation to their Licence as some contain restrictions on allowing customers to take drinks outside. Additionally, some licences prevent people entering the premises after certain times which could cause problems for customers who have popped out for a quick fag and want to come back in! All public buildings will need to display signs, probably at the entrances, stating that smoking on the premises is against the law. Details have yet to be issued.