Yet Nick Bish, CEO of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers warned against 'turning back the clock':
“We need to be careful what we wish for – starting a debate on smoking rooms does not mean it will end there and would inevitably re-open discussions about restrictions in beer gardens, and no-smoking anywhere near the premises. That would turn customers off and the trade away,” he said.I appreciate that Nick Bish has a busy job to do – there are many other issues in the licensed trade than smoking – but he heads an organisation that opposes a plank of legislation that has ruined many in his sector and done pub values no favours at all. The thought that ASH might attempt to force an outdoor ban is interesting, but the whole premise of the ban is meant to be protecting workers from second-hand smoke exposure.
Publicans are forced by the smoking ban to ensure that the no smoking is observed, without compensation and on pain of dire penalties if they get it wrong (as this Irish publican discovered). Bish's members should demand better representation: Bish accepts as given that government is there to restrict smoking areas and will inevitably get its way if there is a fight.
Share prices tell much of the story. The smoking ban has caused huge damage. Perhaps HorecaClaim can help. But the issue needs proper leadership.