While returning home from a cinq à sept the other day, I ran into the owner of a small café that keeps me in coffee when I am at work. He was sitting on a nearby stoop smoking a cigarette, and I decided to stop and smoke with him.
We chatted about his business, which is doing fine. “The turnover’s higher now,” he told me. “People don’t linger. It’s just in and out.” Still, he remains incensed at the smoking ban, which is killing his friends’ bars, and mentioned that he is talking to his lawyers about opening another café. A smoking café.
Apparently, the provincial ban contains a loophole that allows for smoking in members-only establishments, but only on the condition that their patrons are not visible to the general public. According to the lawyers, this means that a private club which is located on an upper floor of a building, or which is located on the first floor but does not have any windows, may legally permit smoking.
While walking home, I thought that this was quite possibly the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard. Nevertheless, if it is true, then it is only a matter of time before the city is overrun with windowless smoking clubs. Having endured four weeks of this smoke-free nonsense, I can hardly wait.