Bulgarian Business 'Begs' PM Borisov to Lift Full Smoking Ban
Bulgarians are second in Europe, only after Greece, by the number of smokers. File photo
Representatives of Bulgaria's restaurant and hotel sector have written an open letter to Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, insisting on revoking the full smoking ban in indoor spaces.
The sector estimates a slump of 20% -40% in the turnover since the ban was introduced on June 1 2012 and alarms about noted mass exodus of customers and upcoming bankruptcies in the winter season.
According to a publication in the Bulgarian Trud (Labor) daily, the business is asking Borisov to initiate debates and changes in the Health Act banning smoking in public spaces. They propose to separate facilities as well as space inside restaurants and bars in smoking and non-smoking with strict adherence to the requirements for air-conditioning, ventilation, and not allowing minors inside the smoking places.
The proposal also includes incentives for those who implement voluntarily the full ban such as tax deductions.
The hotel and restaurant owners say if the ban is to stay, the State budget would incur losses of BGN 228 M a year from taxes, and warn their pending bankruptcies would lead to increase of the unemployment rate, particularly among young people.
The letter is signed by owners from 26 cities in the country, by the Bulgarian Hotel and Restaurant Association, the informal Association "Free Choice" and the Facebook group "Association of Locales in Bulgaria."
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