While not implementing the ban Northover and the LGA seek, but a spokesperson did say businesses desperately trying to recover from the enforced lockdown will have to make “reasonable provision” to set up non-smoking areas, providing a 2-metre gap between the two sections “wherever possible”.
LibDem Lord German mirrors Baroness Northover’s illiberal stance, stating in the Lords debate: “Why not use this limited opportunity to provide an environment which is not just smoke-free but is healthy for diners and staff alike? The government can demonstrate that they mean business in the challenge to tackle the harm that smoking does to the health of the nation.”
A press release from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local government stated: “Since the existing ban was introduced, businesses have invested heavily in their outdoor areas and banning outdoor smoking would lead to significant closures and job losses. However, today’s amendment will ensure that customers are given more choice by ensuring premises offer separate seating for smokers and non-smokers outside.”
Christopher Pincher MP told The Independent: “We are supporting our pubs, cafes and restaurants to safely reopen and securing jobs by making it quicker, easier and cheaper to set up outdoor seating and stalls to serve food and drink, whilst protecting public health against the transmission of COVID. These changes will allow everyone to enjoy outdoor eating and drinking whether they smoke or not, with appropriate provisions made for non-smokers and smokers.”
YorkMix magazine is reporting that businesses applying for a temporary three-month pavement licence in the city of York will “need to be non-smoking and non-vaping areas, to protect people from passive smoking.”
Passive smoking? From vape? Countless studies have shown there is no such concept indoors – let alone outside.
Local papers report a number of businesses closing down due to the lockdown [link]. In their quest to create “a more family friendly atmosphere and embrace a European-feel”, Director of Public Health Sharon Stoltz is ignoring science, throwing tobacco harm reduction under the bus at a time it’s needed most, and ignoring the needs of countless small independent pubs [link].