The Halifax hospitality industry is split on whether the municipality’s incoming smoking ban will affect business.
“Some people are smokers and they’re used to having a drink and going outside and having a smoke and [if] they can’t go smoking, they’re going to go and take their business elsewhere,” said Gordon Stewart, the executive director of Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia (RANS).
With cannabis legalization on the horizon for Oct. 17, Halifax Regional Council has voted to amend an existing bylaw to prohibit smoking of any kind on municipal property, except in specially designated areas.
The decision has raised contention from everyday citizens to business owners who feel their bottom line will suffer.
However, not everyone is overly concerned that the changes will hurt their bottom line.
“No one really pays attention to the restrictions as they are now. I really don’t think that going forward, unless the city was to come down hard on these restrictions, I still don’t think it’s going to affect business because it’s a level playing field for everybody,” Todd Abbass said, the owner of Stayner’s Wharf Pub and Grill.
Abbass feels the restrictions won’t be the deciding factor for whether or not people choose to go to his establishment.
“I’m certainly not going to tell somebody that they have to smoke over there. As long as they don’t smoke on my patio, or inside my building, wherever they want to smoke, that’s what they’re going to do,” he said.
Stewart, however, feels there’s a lot more to the tough smoking restrictions than meets the eye.
“Cannabis smoking areas, designated, would have been fine but to take and bundle everything together, it’s kind of baby-in-the-bathwater situation. No problem has been solved here. We’ve just created a bigger problem for ourselves overall,” Stewart said.
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