Local businesses and event organisers are encouraged to attend a local information session to ensure they understand the changes to smoke-free dining that will come into effect next month.
Moira Shire infrastructure general manager Andrew Close said smoking would be off the menu in outdoor dining areas when food was available from August 1.
‘‘Smoking will also be banned in all outdoor areas at food fairs and within 10 metres of a food stall or food vendor at an organised outdoor event,’’ Mr Close said.
At The Bottom Pub in Cobram, chef John Riddell said he expected the new regulations would be implemented smoothly.
‘‘I think it will actually make it a little bit better, since people eating don’t like people sitting next to them smoking,’’ he said.
‘‘For me personally, I think it’s a good idea and I’m a smoker myself.
‘‘There shouldn’t be any smoking in any eating areas at all.
‘‘And there’s no real need for cigarette machines or the selling of tobacco products on licensed premises because you won’t be allowed to smoke here anyway.’’
Mr Riddell said he was notified about the new changes and had read about them in the newspapers and online as well.
‘‘The basic change is to take away the ashtrays from the outside dining areas and that’s it,’’ he said.
‘‘And on August 1 we’ll put out some signs saying there will be no smoking on the premises.
‘‘You’ll probably get the odd couple of people who are against it but the majority of people who do smoke will be okay with it.
‘‘It’s a common courtesy.
‘‘There will be more of a benefit for staff — they won’t have to go and pick up everybody’s cigarette butts off the ground, there will be less rubbish.
‘‘We are not even allowed to bring the ashtrays through here, we have to take them around the other way, around the back.’’
Council staff are hosting the sessions to help businesses and community members understand the changes and what they mean for their business or event.
‘‘From August 1 we will be required to enforce the new requirements, so we are keen to help businesses understand and prepare before the start date,’’ Mr Close said.
The changes will be introduced Victoria-wide.
A range of information about the changes is available online at www.health.vic.gov.au/tobaccoreforms
‘‘We encourage everyone to make use of the resources available online or attend an information session so we can answer questions and assist their planning,’’ Mr Close said.
The council’s smoke-free information sessions will be held at Nathalia Community Centre in Robertson St, Nathalia, on Monday, July 24, at 7pm; Numurkah Visitor Information Centre in Melville St on Tuesday, July 25, at 7pm; Cobram Senior Citizens Centre in Hay Ave on Wednesday, July 26, at 7pm; and Yarrawonga Community Hall in Orr St on Thursday, July 27, at 7pm.
For information about the information sessions contact council. Venues at Barooga, Tocumwal and other NSW locations will not be affected.
- Grahame Whyte