New law on smoking and vaping will put Regina bars and restaurants on an even keel, but not golf courses.
City council approved to change its smoking bylaw at its meeting Monday night, which will soon mean a ban on smoking and vaping at restaurant and bar patios.
“It’s not going to negatively impact us here. If anything it will be positive for us simply because the customers that were going elsewhere to smoke on other decks may come back now,” said Kevin McCutcheon, general manager of Barley Mill Brew Pub.
He made the move to ban smoking from his patio three years ago.
“Some of the smokers, they appreciated it. They didn’t leave … but there were people that went elsewhere simply because they wanted to sit on the deck and have their beer and their meal and be able to smoke as well.”
McCutcheon explained the inside of the pub has been smoke-free for a while and wanted their patio to be an extension of that. Renovations had been done to the deck so he figured if Barley Mill had a fresh look it should also have a fresh feel. He knew the backlash would come but looking back, he believes that decision had a neutral impact on business.
“It would have been really tough to tell because we did lose some customers but we gained some so I believe that was a wash more than anything, but now with the change, we are going to increase a little bit.”
But while the playing field will be more even at those kinds of establishments, there soon could be a bit of a patchwork at golf courses around the city.
The bylaw states smoking will be banned from all city-owned outdoor public spaces, which includes golf courses. That will take effect July 15, as will other elements of the refreshed bylaw.
However, private courses like Wascana Country Club are not included. Right now, smoking is prohibited in and around the clubhouse, but not on the course itself.