Oddly Enough

Plan to lift smoking ban in small pubs

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Bowing to resistance to a smoking ban imposed on the nation’s bars and cafes more than two years ago, the new Dutch government has opted to partially reverse the health measure for small pubs.

The government said late on Wednesday it will amend the law to allow smokers to light up again in small owner-operated bars which are less than 70 sq m (753.5 sq ft) in size and which have no other staff.

The ban will remain in force for larger establishments.

The government banned smoking in restaurants, pubs and cafes in July 2008, but the law has been openly ignored as small pubs complained the measure was costing them customers. In a letter to Parliament, Health Minister Edith Schippers said the law would now be amended and that fines already imposed on small pub owners will not be enforced.

The measure to reverse the ban will affect a couple of thousand bars across the country, the minister added.

Reporting by Aaron Gray-Block, editing by Paul Casciato