Traders still in dark on smoking ban facts

Just one day before Greece is due to introduce strict regulations to crack down on smoking in public places, in line with European Union law, the Health Ministry yesterday still had not issued the official decision explaining the obligations of bars and restaurants. Mayors and prefects said they had received dozens of queries from traders regarding the necessary changes to their premises and possible changes to their operating licenses. Without a ministerial decision, local authorities say they cannot give traders clear answers to queries. Speaking to Kathimerini, a high-ranking source at the ministry said the decision in question was due to be made public today. The source added that most bars and restaurants operated outdoor premises over summer and so would have until October to make changes to their premises. According to the new regulations, bars and restaurants larger than 70 square meters must create separate sections for smokers, while owners of establishments smaller than 70 square meters must decide whether to declare the premises exclusively smoking or nonsmoking. The City of Athens yesterday said that it had received 400 applications from establishments smaller than 70 square meters for the special sticker that will establish them as nonsmoking premises. These 400 bars and restaurants represent about one in 10 of establishments of their size in Athens.