Councils shut smoke loophole
CRAFTY cafe owners trying to circumvent new smoking bans around Mt Druitt and St Marys could lose more than just customers looking for a smoke-free place to eat.
It was revealed last week that some cafes across Sydney were exploiting a loophole in the new legislation.
To satisfy smokers, some cafe owners were not serving food in outdoor areas, allowing patrons to puff away, which is permissible according to Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District director public health Dr Bradley Forssman.
“However, under these circumstances the owners must put up mandatory signage. The smoking area must also be at least 4m from any public entry and 4m from other dining areas, and owners must take reasonable steps to ensure that people do not consume food in such an area,” Dr Forssman said.
But any cafes thinking of doing the same in Mt Druitt or St Marys will have to think twice, with Blacktown and Penrith councils pouring cold water on the idea.
“If a restaurant ceased to use its outdoor dining area for dining, it would lose the permit. Nor can the area be used for any other purpose,” a Blacktown Council spokesman said.
All outdoor dining areas must permit food, a Penrith Council spokesman said.
“If the operator ceases to serve food to customers in the outdoor area, then council may terminate the licence,” he said.
This clarification effectively closes the loophole.
Health officers are responsible for enforcing the laws, and customers can also dob in venues that are not complying with the new rules.