REPRESENTATIVES from the hostelry industry in Majorca were in Madrid yesterday, calling on Central Government to relax the total ban on smoking in public places due to be imposed at the start of next year.
Francisco Martinez, Vice-President of the Restaurateurs' Association of Majorca, wanted Tourism and Commerce Minister Miguel Sebastian to intervene on the hostelry industry's behalf claiming that income in the sector is going to nosedive by 20 percent as a result of the ban.
Martinez also pointed out that the change in the law will mean that people are going to create a greater health risk by smoking more in the home, and that there will be increased social conflict with smokers being pushed out into open public areas.
There will be more noise at night with smokers congregating in the street if they can't smoke in bars, cafés and restaurants, warned Martinez.
José María Rubio, the President of the Federation of Spanish Hostelry Associations (FEHR), sent a letter to the Minsitry for Industry urging him to relax the law. Along with other key members of the FEHR, Rubio gathered outside the ministry headquarters yesterday in an outcry against the negative impact that the ban is going to have on a sector already floundering as a result of the economic crisis.
To avoid such losses, and to join the fight against smoking, the hostelry industry in Spain is proposing that a clause be inserted in the new law which makes provision for space to be set aside in hotels, restaurants and cafeterias where clients could smoke. Staff would not be obliged to serve them in these spaces and children would be banned from them.
The proposal is in line with European Union recommendations.