The smoking ban in public spaces, which came into force earlier this year, has already resulted in 180 applications for awnings and terraces from catering establishments in Vélez-Mâlaga as they try to prevent the loss of customers.
For its part, Vélez-Mâlaga Council is trying to be as flexible as possible when dealing with these requests, although they admit that it can be a slow process and one often necessitating a visit by highways technicians.
The flexibility even extends to the possibility of allowing, where feasible, some bars to use roadside areas, normally reserved for parking, as terrace areas.
The requests for awnings are an attempt by catering establishments to provide some sort of shelter from the cold or rain for those customers still addicted to tobacco. Applications for awnings are being readily granted provided that they are not anchored to the ground.
Bars who have music are not allowed to have terraces, but several such bars have expressed a willingness to abandon the music in favour of being able to allow customers a smoking area.
In addition, some bars who normally only open their terraces during the warm, summer months have now been obliged to reopen their terraces in order to cater for customers who smoke.
There are a few establishments which have flouted the law regarding terraces and awnings, setting them up without permission, but again, a flexible approach is being pursued by the Council.