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Ministry clarifies smoking rules - 17/9/2004

From the TIMES

http://www.timesofmalta.com/core/article.php?id=164702

Ministry clarifies smoking rules
The smoking regulations which come into force in just over two weeks' time did not mean a total smoking ban in bars and restaurants, the Health Ministry stressed yesterday.

In fact, the law will permit smoking in such establishments as long as this is done in a physically separate room which conforms with specifications established in the regulations.

The ministry rebutted claims by the Chamber for Small and Medium Enterprises (GRTU) saying that the ministry used the Malta Standards Authority to serve its aims.

It explained that the authority had been asked to establish technical specifications about the levels of air in establishments following an agreement between the ministry and the chamber and the two parties had agreed to honour the recommendations.

Smoking regulations will come into force in entertainment establishments measuring over 60 square metres on October 5. As of that date smoking will only be allowed in separate rooms and owners will have to clearly mark where smoking is allowed and where the place is non-smoking.

The ministry said the authority's technical committee consisted of interested parties, including the GRTU. It explained that 10 two-hour meetings were held and the GRTU had actively participated.

However, it added, the GRTU representatives did not attend the last two meetings during which the specifications were being finalised.

The ministry also rebutted GRTU claims that an agreement had been reached between the two about the way the regulations should be implemented. It explained that during a meeting in April the ministry had handed over to the GRTU some amendments to the original regulations and although the latter had promised to communicate any reaction within 24 hours this never reached the ministry.

The ministry said enough time had been allowed for the parties involved to take the necessary precautions to conform with the regulations, which, the ministry emphasised, were being introduced to safeguard the people's health



 
 
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