Wimmera restaurant owners divided on outdoor smoking ban

Health Minister David Davis said a new smoking ban would prohibit al fresco diners from smoking.

Health Minister David Davis said a new smoking ban would prohibit al fresco diners from smoking.

A PROPOSED ban on smoking in outdoor dining areas has divided Wimmera pub and restaurant owners.

Health Minister David Davis said the new measures would prohibit al fresco diners from smoking.

He said the ban would ensure anyone preferring to eat in the open air could do so in comfort.

However, Cheeky Fox head chef Daniel McFarlane said the ban would alienate smokers.

"I don't believe it should happen," he said.

"We have two outdoor eating areas one is non-smoking and one is smoking and we like to publicise that.

"I don't think it will have a huge effect on business because people are still going to go out and eat.

"However, now they might not hang around for a coffee after lunch, they will go away to have a smoke."

The Exchange publican Luke Robertson said smoking outdoors would have been banned eventually.

"The State Government might as well do it now," he said.

Mr Robertson said he thought it would affect business slightly at the start.

"It's like anything, people will just have to get used to it," he said.

Mr Davis said the ban was a significant and necessary step in protecting the Victorian community from the harms of smoking.

He said the State Government would consult with key industry stakeholders to ensure businesses and groups affected by the outdoor dining ban had an opportunity to discuss its implications.

Mr Davis said feedback would assist the State Government to determine the details of the ban.

"The State Government recognises the ban will affect a wide range of small, medium and large businesses, and that sufficient time must be provided to allow them to adjust to the new law," he said.

"However, we know that smoking costs almost 4000 lives each year in Victoria.

"Our smoking ban will ensure anyone visiting a restaurant, cafe, pub or any other venue that offers outdoor dining can do so without the risk of being exposed to harmful second-hand smoke."

The State Government will also introduce reforms through the Tobacco Amendment Bill to ban smoking at the entrances to childcare centres, schools, indoor play areas, hospitals, community health centres and some government buildings.