THE Balearic Government is thinking of extending the period for restaurants of more than 100 square metres to physically separate their smoking and non smoking areas. The national Antitobacco law which came into force on January 1 this year lays down that the areas should be separated by September 1 this year.
The Balearic Minister for Health and Consumer Affairs, Aina Castillo, said that the Balearic Government will take this decision if the national Government doesn't increase to two years the period allowed for bars and restaurants of more than 100 square metres to comply with the law. Actually, time runs out on September 1 but restaurant owners, not just in the Balearics but in many other regions, have demanded an increase in the time limit. By taking this step, the Balearic islands are added to the list of regions who want an extension of this deadline, such as Madrid, La Rioja or the Valencia region. This is in addition to the measures agreed in Catalonia between the local Government and Associations of Restauranteurs.
Castillo stressed that it is impossible for all the restaurants of more than 100 square metres on the islands to have the work done by August 31, as laid down by the national law, taking into account that the high tourist season has now started and many establishments have stopped all refurbishment work. “If it is the case that the adaptation cannot be made by August 31, logically we should think about and study, with the associations of the sector, measures which will be along the same lines as those embarked upon by other autonomous regions from today”, said Castillo. The Minister, who said that this decision should be supported by the Balearic Government's technical services, said she hoped that, in the end, the national Government would agree and extend the adaptation period to two years so that there would be no more conflicts between Madrid and various autonomous regions over this matter.