MADRID

PROMPTED by serious loss of income, the 74 associations which go to make up the National Hoteliers Federation (FEHR) have joined forces at the Tourism Fair currently being held in Madrid to demand the repeal of the total smoking ban.

The FEHR says that the ban applicable to all public enclosed spaces, and some which are not enclosed such as those surrounding schools and hospitals, is affecting the hostelry industry on a nationwide basis.

The Federation wants to provide accounting evidence of its losses to show to Central Government after less than a month of the ban being in force. It also intends to ask that the law be modified to bring it in line with other European Union member states which have imposed smoking restrictions as opposed to a total ban. Association representatives are to collect signatures from their members, to pressure the Ministry for Health to reconsider.

The Federation is also seeking legal advice on whether or not it has a case to force Central Government to pay for the structural alterations that many premises were forced to make to separate smokers from non-smokers when restrictions in public places were first imposed under former legislation. These often costly alterations became obsolete after the total ban was introduced.

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