The new law prohibiting smoking that was introduced in the first weeks of January continues to cause confusion and controversy amongst tourists heading to Los Cabos. This prompted a local organization that represents bars, nightclubs, and other Cabo establishments to meet with local authorities to work out a framework of how the new regulations are set to be implemented in Los Cabos.
After the meeting, Estaban Dominguez, a restaurant owner who was part of the talks, told reporters on site that there was, in essence, a compromise reached between COEPRIS, the federal commission against sanitary risks, and local restaurant owners. Through this compromise, restaurants and bars in Cabo are going to be allowed to create designated smoking areas. Basically, this would mean that smoking areas within nightclubs are going to remain the same as they were before this new law was passed.
The New Smoking Areas Need To Be Ten Yards Away From The Crowd
The new law directly banned smoking within resorts as well as restaurants and bars. The new compromise, though, stipulates that restaurants and bars will be able to set up a smoking zone located at least 10 yards away from the most crowded part of the establishment.
What restaurants and bars are being asked to do is set up warning signs across their establishments to ensure that smokers don’t light up cigarettes even in open areas within the establishment itself. This idea is meant to ensure that foreign tourists arriving in Los Cabos are aware of the law and, therefore, can comply without putting themselves in a situation where they could face fines or any other legal repercussions.
Tourists Have Already Complained About The New Laws
Perhaps one of the main reasons why restaurant owners pushed for this meeting with local authorities is because foreign tourists have already had issues with this new law. Restaurant owner Estaban Dominguez admitted that altercations between staff and tourists had already occurred at his restaurant, saying,
“Our clients are reasonably upset. We’ve already had issues with some clients, but we expect to come up with solutions by speaking amongst ourselves to create protocols to avoid problems. If you put up signs warning that smoking is banned, tourists will understand.”
For their part, local authorities claim that their intention is not to affect the Cabo economy by implementing these laws. The goal, though, is to protect non-smokers from the effects of secondhand smoke. This compromise is meant to help find common ground between these 2 intentions.
Smoking Areas In Bars & Nightclubs Mostly Stay The Same
Bars and nightclubs are certainly going to have an easier time adapting to these new regulations. Around 2007, Mexico passed a law banning smoking in enclosed spaces. At that time, nightclubs certainly had the most to lose since many restaurants were able to create smoking sections in open terraces. However, nightlife venues had to create designated smoking areas outside the establishment in many cases.
Now restaurants would essentially be forced to create a smoking section that’s 10 yards away from the main dining area. How they are going to go about this is still up in the air, however. What both restaurant owners and local authorities want to avoid are crowds of smokers out on the street near an establishment. In many respects, it seems that this new compromise is reverting the law to what was already established.
Restaurants that are located literally on the beach, like many of the establishments at El Medano, may have a tougher time setting up smoking-designated areas. Unless they happen to feature an open area that isn’t located directly on the beach. Despite the compromise, smoking on Cabo beaches is still banned under the new legislation.
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