Wellington City Council's plan to eliminate smoking and vaping in outdoor areas will see 40 businesses impacted by the change.
By Emma Hildesley
These businesses operate on council-owned land – meaning those with an outdoor dining area that extends onto the footpath will become a smoke and vape-free zone.
"We tend to think that the change won't have a huge impact as a lot of these places already have their own designated anti-smoking policies individual to their business location," said Wellington City Council spokesperson Richard MacLean.
It’s part of Wellington City Council's strategy to deter smoking in public places as well as edging the city closer to the Government's Smokefree by 2025 policy.
MacLean said, "the lack of smoking and vaping will attract more people to the outdoor spaces which may even boost up sales if patrons are having a good time in outdoor areas."
Operators will also need to remove all ashtrays from outdoor furniture and put up smoke-free signage.
Several affected businesses 1News spoke to said they were not worried about the new laws as they were already smoke-free by choice.
"We just didn't want people outside blowing smoke or vape into our café, it ruins it for everyone else so we’ve just always been smoke-free," one business owner said.
General manager of Astoria café Stephen Morris said the policy has been signposted for long enough that most impacted Wellington businesses know it's coming and aren't worried.
"I've been in the industry long enough to remember when you were allowed to smoke indoors and when that got banned everyone thought it would sink the industry, but of course it did not," he said.
"People will cope and adapt, but there are also some with loopholes like balconies and private fenced-off gardens and such that will avoid the ruling."
He said the confusing part is who is supposedly meant to be enforcing the new changes and making sure public spaces remain smoke and vape free.
The Smokefree Wellington policy was originally meant to launch in July last year but was pushed back to help businesses get back on their feet after Covid lockdowns.