Bar Owners Say Smoking Ban Killing Them

Irina Mossi Love Detective

LESS than week after the Ministry of Health imposed a smoking ban, bar owners say their businesses are suffering.

Christopher Lyew is a third generation bar owner who operates the
Willie’s Pub in the Portia Simpson Miller Square, more popularly known
as Three Miles.

On any given day or night, Willie’s Pub swings with patrons sipping on
alcoholic beverages, smoking cigarettes and amusing themselves around
gaming machines.

But Lyew said that the smoking ban has turned off many customers who are
used to relieving their stress over a couple drinks and inhaling
nicotine-filled smoke from cigarettes.

But with the owner of the establishment liable to face a fine of up to
$1 million, Lyew has been forced to ask his customers who smoke to take
their pleasures outside to a designated area 10 feet away from the bar
in an open space.

“This is the worst week I have ever seen. The ban is hurting business,
as many people who are told they cannot smoke, opt to leave. This bar
has been here since my grandfather’s days and in just a few days it is
really bad,” Lyew told the Jamaica Observer.

For Manuela Allwood, who operates a small bar at Laws Street in Parade
Gardens, downtown Kingston, the ban could not have been imposed at a
worst time.

“Most drinkers do smoke and when you tell them they can’t smoke in the
bar, you lose a sale. I tell you that some people smoke more than they
drink as many people come to the bar to relieve their stress. The ban is
hurting my business,” she said.

Under the rules of the ban, smoking is illegal in all enclosed spaces
accessible to the public; public transportation; work places;
government-owned and occupied buildings; health facilities including
pharmacies; sports, athletics and recreational facilities for the use of
the public; educational institutions; areas specifically used by
children; and places of collective use by the public, such as bus stops.

On South Camp Road at Charlie’s Tavern, Chevelle Drisdale works as a bartender.

Drisdale sat alone inside the small establishment that usually attracts customers at all times of the day.

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