A ban on smoking in outdoor dining areas will come into effect as of 1 August 2017.
The Tobacco Amendment Act 2016 (Vic) (Amendment Act) amends the Tobacco Act 1987 (Vic) (Act) so that no person may smoke in an outdoor area where food is being served. This will presumably include footpath dining areas, beer gardens and other outdoor dining areas.
The ban does not extend to outdoor drinking areas, being outdoor areas where food is not served. If only coffee, drinks or snacks (being pre-packaged foods and uncut fruit) are served and consumed in an outdoor area, then the smoking ban won’t apply.
Outdoor dining areas (where food is being served) and any other outdoor drinking areas (where food is not being served) will need to be separated by:
- a distance of at least 4 metres; or
- a wall or blind that is at least 2.1 metres tall.
A person caught smoking in an outdoor dining area could be liable to pay a fine in the amount equivalent to 10 penalty units. For a business in contravention of these provisions, the fine increases to 50 penalty units.
The person or company in control of an outdoor dining area can avoid a fine if they can show that they were unaware of any contravention of the smoking ban occurring.
The Amendment Act also provides a 3 month grace period for new outdoor dining areas – the smoking ban won’t apply for 3 months from the date that an area is first used as an outdoor dining area.
If you operate outdoor dining and drinking areas, and have any questions or would like to discuss further, please get in touch with us.