Dutch pub fined EUR 1,200 for flouting smoking ban
Owners of the Groningen pub had received five warnings before being charged.GRONINGEN – Owners of Groningen pub De Kachel are fined EUR 1,200 for repeatedly violating a smoking ban, rules a Dutch court.
In the first case brought against a pub for failing to comply with the ban, owners of De Kachel are warned they would be forced to close down for a month should they allow smoking in the pub.
Owners of De Kachel, Brothers Gerhard and Ronald Sannes, had received five warnings before being charged.
In July 2008, the Netherlands introduced a smoking ban in bars, cafes and restaurants. Many owners of small cafes have been flouting the ban, saying it is bad for business.
In an earlier interview with AFP, Gerhard Sannes said: "We have a small bar with no extra space in which to build a smoking section. We have no staff (whom the smoking ban is supposed to protect)."
Sannes said Cafe de Kachel took the ashtrays off its tables for six weeks in July and August and saw turnover plummet by 60 percent.
"The earnings were so low that we just couldn't do it anymore. We had to put the ashtrays back. By October, turnover was back to its previous level."
There has been growing resistance to the ban imposed last July, as small bar and restaurant owners complain they are bleeding clients and revenue.
A grouping of some 1,200 small hospitality industry operators opposed to the effects of the ban have created a communal money pot from which to pay fines.
Tougher penalties were introduced in October, with inspectors given the power to issue on-the-spot fines of EUR 300 for a first offence, followed by EUR 600 for the second.
Radio Netherlands / AFP / Expatica