Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Wellington council to clear the air for outdoor diners

Hospitality venues with outdoor dining on Council land in the capital will become smokefree and vapefree from 1 March 2023, Wellington City Council has announced.

In support of Smokefree Aotearoa 2025, Wellington City Council is asking Wellingtonians to clear the air in their favourite pubs, bars, restaurants and other venues. 

From 1 March 2023, businesses with an outdoor dining area that extends onto the footpath will become smoke and vape free, the Council said in a statement. 

“This change does not affect smoking areas on private land like balconies, backyard dining areas, rooftops or outdoor dining that is not on Council-owned land,” it said.

The changes to hospitality venues add to the list of areas already smoke and vape free in Wellington City, which includes beaches, playgrounds, skate parks, sportsfields, bus stops, Waitangi, Midland and Truby King parks, the Botanic Garden, Otari-Wilton’s Bush, Bolton Street Cemetery, Te Ngākau Civic Square, Grey Street, Wellington Zoo and Zealandia, and entrances to all Council buildings including libraries and swimming pools.

Manager of Wellington City Council Public Health Group, Helen Jones says the change aligns with Wellington’s contribution to a nationwide movement to reduce smoking and vaping rates.

Currently around 8% of the population smokes and another 8% vapes – the goal is to reduce this to less than 5% nationally. 

“Wellingtonians are considerate people who respect the smokefree and vapefree areas, and these changes to dining and hospo areas reaffirms the Council’s commitment to Smokefree Aotearoa 2025,” said Mr Jones.

“Our approach is always about positively encouraging smokefree and vapefree areas, rather than punishing people for smoking or vaping. We will continue to take an educational approach about the physical, social and environmental benefits of going smokefree and vapefree.

“We understand this is a big change for both businesses and their customers, so we are providing them with any support or resources they may need to prepare for this change in March 2023.

“This change was originally set to start in July 2022, but with businesses still recovering from the aftermath of COVID-19, Council decided to hold off enforcing this change until 1 March 2023. This campaign over the busy summer months will help prepare businesses and Wellingtonians for this behaviour change,” she said.

The changes are part of the Trading and Events in Public Places Policy, which was passed by Council in November 2021. 

For more information on smoke and vape free changes in the capital visit wellington.govt.nz/smokefree.

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