Smoking%20outside.jpgSpare a thought for our embattled pub and bar operators. First, there was the bureaucratic headache of the updated Licensing Act to negotiate, in 2005.
Then, in July of this year, there was further upheaval and an increased burden of responsibility when the ban on smoking in public places went live.
Now, we learn that smoking ban and Licensing Act are conspiring together to place some high-street operators in a legal cul-de-sac.
The smoking ban dictates that customers have to head outside to light up, either in a dedicated space or outside on the pavement. If they don’t, license holders are held to account.
But then who is to blame if clusters of smokers act noisily or rowdily outside and become a nuisance for local residents? You guessed it: it’s the license holders – and the Licensing Act empowers local authorities to suspend licenses and impose enforced periods of closure upon them.
In other words, compliance with one law is, in some cases, directly leading to non-compliance with another.
Of course operators need to be mindful of their duties to their local community; but for local authorities to take such a Draconian approach so quickly (and examples are already emerging) is unfair. They should cut operators some slack as they come to terms with the huge changes to their commercial landscape in the past year.
Read more news on the licensing change on Caterersearch.com