Fabian Demicoli

GRTU TO SUE MINISTER OF HEALTH OVER SMOKING REGULATIONS



The GRTU –
Association of Retailers & Traders today announced that tomorrow (Friday)
they will be filing a Judicial Letter against the Minister of Health, calling on
him to adjust the smoking in public places regulations or face legal
action.

The GRTU said that during meetings held with the Minister before
the amended regulations were published, it had been agreed that places of public
entertainment such as bars and restaurants would be divided between places
larger than and smaller than sixty square metres. The larger places would be
obliged to have separate smoking zones, within which air quality would have to
be according to standards established by the Malta Standards Authority, while
the smaller establishments would not need to have separate zones but would have
to ensure acceptable air quality standards in accordance with MSA
parameters.

The amended regulations, when published, did not reflect this
agreement at all and the GRTU believes that the Minister has not lived up to his
side of the deal. To make matters worse, the GRTU said, the Malta Standards
Authority had established standards that were not even in accordance with the
regulations – even if these regulations themselves were not in accordance with
the agreement – because physically separated smoking areas were being mandated,
in contradistinction with the wording of the regulation which spoke of separated
smoking zones, not rooms.

In these circumstances, the GRTU was formally
calling upon the Minister to abide by the agreement that had been reached,
failing which legal action would have to be instituted. The GRTU did not exclude
that it would have recourse to other action.

The Press Conference was
addressed by Mr Charles J Busuttil, President, Mr Vince Farrugia,
Director-General of the GRTU and Mr Philip Fenech, President of the Hospitality
Section, together with Dr Andrew Borg-Cardona, the GRTU’s legal advisor on this
matter.

 

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