Six months for busi­nesses to pre­pare be­fore Or­chard Road be­comes smoke-free

The Myanmar Times - - International Business -

PLANS for Or­chard Road to be smoke­free from July 1 will be pushed back by about six months, the Na­tional En­vi­ron­ment Agency (NEA) an­nounced on Wed­nes­day (June 13).

This is be­cause some busi­nesses have given feed­back that they need more time to make the nec­es­sary prepa­ra­tions to com­ply with the “nosmok­ing zone” at the pop­u­lar shop­ping belt. This in­cludes iden­ti­fy­ing suit­able lo­ca­tions and the set­ting up of des­ig­nated smok­ing ar­eas, and to fa­mil­iarise smok­ers on the where­abouts of th­ese new spots.

The new date of when the smok­ing ban will kick in will be de­cided later, NEA said in its state­ment.

Un­der new reg­u­la­tions an­nounced by the agency last June, all pub­lic ar­eas within the Or­chard Road shop­ping belt will be­come smoke-free zones from July this year and smok­ing will be per­mit­ted only at des­ig­nated ar­eas.

The smoke-free precinct is bor­dered by Tan­glin Road to the west, Dhoby Ghaut MRT Sta­tion to the east, and Good­wood Park Ho­tel to the north.

Since last June, works have be­gun to put up screens at des­ig­nated smok­ing ar­eas along pub­licly owned spa­ces on Or­chard Road, such as Or­chard Tow­ers, Far East Plaza, The Heeren, Cup­page Ter­race, and be­hind Som­er­set MRT Sta­tion. Oth­ers are located in pri­vate prop­er­ties such as Cathay Cineleisure Or­chard, Ngee Ann City and Plaza Sin­ga­pura. There are about 40 such spots to date, NEA said.

Is­land­wide, the agency has stopped ac­cept­ing ap­pli­ca­tions for new smok­ing cor­ners in food re­tail es­tab­lish­ments since last June. Those that had al­ready been ap­proved for busi­nesses which re­side out­side the no-smok­ing zone would be al­lowed to re­main un­til the li­cences of th­ese re­tail­ers are ter­mi­nated, and no new smok­ing cor­ners will be ap­proved for li­censees of the same premises af­ter that.

With the ex­ten­sion of the dead­line for Or­chard Road busi­nesses to pre­pare for this switch to the new des­ig­nated smok­ing ar­eas, smok­ing cor­ners that are al­ready in food re­tail es­tab­lish­ments within the no-smok­ing zone will con­tinue to be in place for an­other six months be­fore their re­moval, NEA added.

The ma­jor­ity of the busi­nesses in Or­chard Road are sup­port­ive of the no-smok­ing ini­tia­tive, the agency said, and they are work­ing to set up des­ig­nated zones for smok­ers within their premises.

In sup­port of this ef­fort to have a smoke-free en­vi­ron­ment, the Or­chard Road Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion has been or­gan­is­ing free weekly events such as fit­ness work­outs, health screen­ing, talks and work­shops for a year.

The as­so­ci­a­tion’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Steven Goh said: “Be­sides im­prov­ing vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ence in the Or­chard Road precinct, the no-smok­ing zone may also re­duce cig­a­rette con­sump­tion and mo­ti­vate our em­ploy­ees to make bet­ter health choices.” – TO­DAY

Photo: TO­DAY

Op­er­a­tors en­ter­ing the food-and-bev­er­age busi­ness, set­ting up a new out­let, or have just bought over an eatery will no longer be able to ap­ply for smok­ing per­mits.

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