City Square trader Gerard Kelly is not happy with the City of Melbourne’s open-area smoking ban, which enters its second month in November.
Mr Kelly says it’s too early to tell how the ban is affecting his three hospitality businesses, but he has been told by some customers that they won’t be back.
He said customers held the reasonable belief that they should be able to “go outside” to smoke. But from October 1, smoking is banned during the day in the City Square.
“It’s just too hard to police and govern,” he said. “It would be OK if smoking was banned generally in public places. If the state legislated for the whole of Victoria, then people would understand it.”
With massive disruption from the Metro Rail project looming, he said the council should have waited before introducing its first open-area smoking ban. He also questioned the council’s pre-ban consultation.
“They claimed to have spoken to seven businesses. There are not seven businesses here. We are three businesses. Who else did they speak to?” he said.
“With some of our toughest trading conditions, this ban is just another obstacle we have to overcome.”