When a cafe’s ‘no-dips’ policy goes wrong

In the cafe’s first few months, the owners of Annies Cafe in Melbourne’s north-west had to learn to live with a no-dipping policy.

But by late 2016, they had become addicted to the high.

As the cafe experienced a massive boom, its owners had no idea what to do next.

They found themselves in a Catch-22.

They had to either find new ways to satisfy customers, or they would lose their cafe.

The Annies Café is the second cafe in Melbourne to be forced to change its no-sip policy after the establishment was forced to scrap a no drinking policy in March.

No-dip cafes have been a hot-button issue in Australia since 2015, when the Government banned restaurants from selling alcohol in bars.

Cafes that were once free from alcohol and now charge a fee have been forced to close their doors, while other cafes have faced shutdowns, and some are facing legal action.

Since January, there have been three cafes in Melbourne forced to introduce no-drink policies, with three more to follow.

Melbourne’s Annies cafe has become the latest in a string of no-smoking cafes that have been closed down or forced to shutter.

Owner Rachel Fournier says she’s “pretty scared” of the consequences of a no smoking policy.

“We’re not really looking to hurt people’s lives or anything, just to try and help them to get through the week and try and keep their spirits up,” she said.

“I’m definitely scared of what could happen, I’m pretty scared of the repercussions of the policy.”

Ms Fourniers cafe has been closed since January after a no dipping policy was introduced.

“It was just so stressful, especially after the last few weeks with so many people that have died from alcohol-related issues, and people dying from drug-related [related] issues,” she explained.

Ms Nairn says she was initially reluctant to take part in the policy change because she did not want to “push the boundaries of social etiquette”.

“I don’t think that it’s necessarily a good idea for a person to drink or smoke at any point in their life, particularly if they’ve just got a really good hangover,” she told ABC Melbourne.

While some cafes have tried to change their no-discount policies, many others have not.

In April, the Royal Commission into the Deaths in Custody of Children heard from former Victorian Police Commissioner Tim Pallas about his experience of a cafe owner in South Australia who refused to allow children under the age of 16 to drink at the time.

Pallas was forced out of his position after the commission heard he had refused to change his policy to a no drink policy for two weeks in July 2016.

And in October, the Victorian Government was forced by the Victorian Court of Appeal to reopen a legal challenge to its no drinking ban after former WA Liberal senator Mark Dreyfus was found to have failed to follow his own no-district drinking policy.

Mr Dreyffus, who now serves as a federal minister for health, was fined $2,500 for failing to follow the rules of the no-disrict drinking ban.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health said the government would continue to work with the Victorian Law Society on the issue.


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