City Will Issue Warnings, Focus on Education Before Fines for Smoking on Patios

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I chatted with Public Health’s Kevin McDonald last week about the City’s smoking ban in public parks, which lead to a discussion of how the City will enforce the new provincial ban on patio smoking.

I started the conversation with McDonald looking for a clarification on the City’s continuing exception of two outdoor patios in City parks from it’s park smoking ban.

When the smoking ban in parks was originally implemented, the City felt the spirit of the law was not served by banning smoking on two restaurant patios.

Hutch’s at Bayfront Park and the Lookout Lounge at Mohawk Sports Park are exempted from the park smoking ban bylaw to allow for patrons to smoke on the restaurant patios.

The new provincial rules overrule the bylaw, and smoking is no longer allowed in these two sites.

City: Education First, Enforcement as Needed

McDonald explained how the new smoking ban defines patios as an ancillary use to food service – meaning that during the Festival of Friends on the private Ancaster Fair Grounds, smoking will not be legal at the picnic tables in the food service area.

The City isn’t planning an enforcement blitz, and will focus upon education of the public and offering smoking cessation information.

It will be interesting to see how the bylaw is enforced, and how quickly public attitudes change to accept it. It will probably be much harder to enforce than the indoor smoking ban – the boundaries are not clearing defined and people react differently to government regulations outdoors.

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