The Bavarians went to the polls yesterday to vote on a referendum which would prohibit smoking in all public restaurants and bars, with no exceptions* — and passed it with 61% of the vote. The law takes effect on August 1. This means that if you want to light up, you will have to go outside. The CSU-dominated state government had tried this before in 2008, but quickly backtracked with exceptions for beer tents and then allowing smoking in separate rooms in establishments, which is currently also the law in Austria, for locales larger than 50 square meters. But now it seems that the people of Bavaria (all 37% who voted) have decided that, if asked, they want the smoking ban after all.
Meanwhile, here in Austria, some parties are calling for a national referendum on the same topic. Interestingly, both the right-wing Freedom Party and the left-leaning Greens agree on having a referendum, but with completely different objectives in mind.
* Well, one exception, and that is this year’s (and this year only) Oktoberfest in Munich. They claim that they need time to reconfigure the tents, whatever that means.