Restaurant may be fined $197,000 for violating smoking ban

February 9th, 2011 - 11:37 am ICT by IANS  

Malaga (Spain), Feb 9 (IANS/EFE) Authorities Tuesday proposed imposing a fine of 145,000 euros ($197,200) on a restaurant for refusing to comply with the law that bans smoking in non-open-air public establishments in Spain.The Andalusian administration said that Asador de Guadalmina, a restaurant in the upscale resort city of Marbella, had committed a very serious offense by repeatedly failing to fulfil a requirement by the health authorities.

Owner Jose Eugenio Arias was informed of the proposed fine and that authorities might close the restaurant if he continues to defy the law.

Arias has two weeks to respond to the charges and provide any documents or reports that he feels are appropriate in the case.

In the disciplinary action undertaken by the Andalusian government, the “very serious” infraction of repeatedly failing to comply with rules and regulations could result in a fine of between 10,001 euros ($13,600) and 600,000 euros ($816,000).

Authorities officially required that Arias abandon his attitude and take down the placards he placed in the restaurant urging patrons to light up.

After learning of his stance, Arias received calls of support “from average Spaniards”, began collecting signatures against the law and made a call to other Spanish hoteliers to join forces.

A month after the anti-smoking law went into force, about 98.4 percent of the restaurants and hotels are said to be complying with it, although some 5,000 establishments were continuing to permit smoking by their customers, according to a study released Tuesday by a consulting firm.

–IANS/EFE
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