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Restaurant keepers bring ashtrays back on the tables

19 October 2010 / 08:10:44  GRReporter
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"Bring ashtrays back in restaurants and catering establishments!" This is the call of the Federation of restaurants owners that urged since the beginning of the week all affected businesses to ignore the recent law banning smoking in all public places. They stated from the federation that this socially beneficial measure will destroy their already seedy business and despite the threat of fines they are ready to take the risk to allow smoking indoor to keep their diminishing clientele.
 
GRReporter’s survey showed that the public responds to the disobedience of Greek restaurant and tavern owners in different ways but the overall opinion tends to support the initiative. The 23-year-old student Alexandra said she prefers to drink her coffee without choking on cigarette smoke around her. Her fellow student Fenya prefers, however, separate areas to be defined for smokers so that not to bother the other customers and not to isolate those who would like to light a cigarette with their afternoon coffee for example.  

"We must find a balanced way to solving the problem," said the manager of the small bistro Kafedra in the metropolitan district Maroussi. He also believes the government should consider a measure that would allow smoking and non smoking areas in catering establishments. In this way, people who are not addicted to smoking will be allowed to enjoy a coffee or a nice lunch without cigarette smoke disturbing them and the smokers will not be discriminated.
 
He said the economic crisis and family budgets tightening "hit" turnover of tavernas and restaurants in the country the most. The business turnover decline is even reaching 40% -50% and things will get worse in the coming winter. Things are much better in cafes, said the manager and if there is a reduction in turnover, it does not exceed 10%.
 
The square around the subway station in Maroussi district is famous for its numerous small and large establishments. The manager of the Esatto coffee bar, which is popular in the area, expressed a much more extreme position. Smoking a cigarette behind the bar, he stated explicitly that the ban on smoking should be repealed. "The restaurant got three hundred seats, while two thirds of my customers smoke. They should repeal the law if they want small and large traders to continue to work and pay taxes," he explained.

He has sixteen years of experience in this servicing sector and it indicates that the food industry and the related services go through their most difficult period. "In my opinion, the total turnover of the catering industry decreased by about 40 per cent, and it seems things will continue to worsen," he said. He said the law was enacted in the worst possible time when companies from different sectors stop working one after another and people begin to cut unnecessary costs. Much of these costs include dining out and nightlife. At the same time, the government has increased the tax burden on working enterprises with direct and indirect taxes, and operating costs are significantly rising. "The government should understand that we can not survive in winter if you ban a person to light a cigarette with the coffee," concluded the manager of the Esatto coffee bar.  

The same was the position of the bartender in the June 1935 pub, who generally supports the initiative of the Federation of restaurants owners. However, he said he intends to put ashtrays on the tables after a formal decision is adopted. "A few establishments supported the initiative and I do not want to risk a fine because I did not obey the current law," he explained. According to him, the owners of establishments should be given the right to decide whether they want to be "smoke friendly" (for smokers) or not.

 

Tags: EconomyMarketsCigarettesBan on smokingRestaurant keepersTaverns
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