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28 September 2023
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GRTU has expressed its concern to the Superintendent of Public Health within the Ministry for Energy and Health with regard to the implementation of policies related to fines and penalties for smoking in entertainment and leisure premises.
GRTU appreciates the efforts undertaken by the Health Ministry over the years to promote a healthier lifestyle without smoking. Nevertheless, a growing concern for GRTU members remains over the implementation of fines and penalties to compliant business owners in the relevant industries, such as nightclubs and bars, which are unnecessarily burdened with fines. We need to ensure that such a positive policy is implemented proportionally and in a manner that makes sense.
GRTU has in the past worked closely with the respective health directorates to ensure that cooperation by owners is encouraged and rewarded. An example of such has been the involvement of GRTU in an information dissemination campaign related to No Smokingsigns in the leisure and entertainment premises and related public areas.
GRTU is referring to a reported increase of hefty fines being imposed on owners where there is no unreasonable doubt that the owner may not have himself allowed or entertained such smoking on one’s premises, or was not in a position to prevent such smoking. We have in the past reached an understanding to approach such cases in a logical manner.
Establishments that cater for hundreds of clients, that have clear signs that the premises are non-smoking, and take active measures to enforce this policy with their customers (such as with security personnel asking smoking tenants to leave the premises; have removed all forms of ashtrays within the premises), should not be held responsible and fined if a client has been found smoking within the premises with the owner and staff unaware.
It is clear that by smoking the client is breaching not only the law but also the policy of the establishment and the owners do take action to dissuade such behaviour. It is therefore illogical and unfair that the host is fined. The owners are not enforcement officers but they are happy to do their bit. GRTU believes that it is important that all the stakeholders cooperate to reach this common goal but this taxing attitude will simply be counterproductive with the owners that have always tried their best to cooperate.
GRTU will be seeking to ensure that the implementation of policies at hand, whilst beneficial from a public health point of view, do not create unnecessary and illogical burdens to compliant business owners.
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