Get Stuffed 

Round Two

Page 3 of 4

In a recent survey of licensed establishments, the Clean Air Coalition found that two out of three bars and restaurants are already in compliance with local non-smoking bylaws, or are voluntarily complying with the new regulation.

Nevertheless, license holders have panned the new regulations, claiming that they still haven’t been consulted. Vance Campbell, a spokesperson for the B.C. Liquor Licensee and Retailers Association, told Business in Vancouver that nobody within his organization had been consulted by the WCB. They will ask the Provincial Ombudsman to overturn the regulations before the Sept. 10 deadline.

The WCB countered by saying that the association had its chance to comment at the public hearings in June. And while the WCB is aware that it will cost the average bar about $10,000 to set up an indoor smoking room, given all the evidence that second-hand smoke hurts and even kills, and their own mandate to protect the health of workers, they say they did not have a choice.

The Whistler Food and Beverage Association has not received any information about the new ban, but president Dale Schweighardt says the announcement was more or less expected.

"There are a lot of businesses that have chosen to remain non-smoking, or have made other arrangements with outdoor patios, or by customizing their facilities in lots of different ways," he says.

"Basically, this is something we knew was coming back, and although we’re not entirely thrilled about it, everyone is trying to work within the guidelines."

Whistler’s international clientele are generally less understanding and accepting of the rules than locals, which makes it harder for staff to enforce the rules and keep customers happy. When the first smoking ban was in place, bar owners and managers reported everything from customers walking out, to shouting matches, to fist fights in the first few weeks.

People got used to it after a while, and while business slid at a few locations, in many other establishments it actually increased.

In March, when the sunset clause was repealed, many establishments remained non-smoking, including Tapley’s, The Boot, Moe Joe’s, Dubh Linn Gate, Citta’s, and Black’s Pub.

In Whistler, where there is a steady stream of customers in the peak season and a number of alternatives, Schweighardt says the regulation is easier to swallow. Smaller towns are not as lucky.

"I think that it’s definitely something that’s going to slow down the pub atmosphere in a lot of small communities and in the Lower Mainland. People who traditionally go for their beer after work, go for their beer and have a smoke – if that’s not open to them it’s just as easy and less expensive for them to go home and have that beer."

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