Smoking ban on outdoor dining protects everybody’s wellbeing, Public Health Superintendent says

Charmaine Gauci defends the outright ban on smoking in restaurants, including outdoor areas, which was introduced as part of conditions imposed on eateries that have been allowed to reopen

Smoking has also been banned from outside catering areas as people are being encouraged to dine in the open to minimise risk of COVID-19 spread
Smoking has also been banned from outside catering areas as people are being encouraged to dine in the open to minimise risk of COVID-19 spread

The indoor smoking ban at restaurants has been extended to outdoor dining areas to protect the wellbeing of all customers, Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci said.

Restaurants were allowed to reopen last Friday after government restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19 were lifted. However, restaurants and other catering establishments have to abide by strict regulations of social distancing and hygiene. Owners are encouraged to make use of open spaces for sit down customers.

Among the regulations introduced is the outright ban on smoking at eateries, including those in the open. Smoking can only take place at a distance of 10m from the restaurant. Gauci defended the decision when asked about the rationale behind it.

“We feel that in a situation where people are encouraged to choose outside dining because there is a lower risk of COVID-19, they should not be exposed to another health risk by having smokers near them,” Gauci said.

“80% of Maltese don’t smoke and we have to respect them,” she added.

On Monday, one new case of COVID-19 was recorded, while nine new recoveries were registered.

The public health superintendent said the string of low cases in the last days mean the R-factor has once again dropped to around one.

READ ALSO: One positive COVID-19 case overnight, nine recoveries

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