A Petone café owner has come under fire for banning mothers with prams from her café, but claims that legislation forces her to do so. Other cafés around the country disagree.
Faith & Co has been struck with a number of one-star Facebook reviews for its unbending pram policy, which only allows for two prams on-site at any given time. Owner Faith Proctor has said that her hands are tied by the Food Safety Act 2014 and the Hutt City Council, which dictates that any premises must allow safe movement of visitors, staff and food in a way that minimises risk.
“I had to jump through many hoops costing many thousands of dollars to assure the council I was going to make sure there was egress for every single person in my café,” Proctor said. “I have to please the council. I have to please the fire service with egress, I have to look after my other customers.”
Faith & Co has space at the front of the café where two prams or buggies can be safely stored. Any more and Proctor says there is no safe space for them to be, so customers must be turned away. She said she is upset at the manner in which people have made their complaints.
“People don’t know my personal [situation], how many children I have had, so I’m not a child hater at all. But that is how it comes across to people who don’t get their way, basically.”
“I have not banned buggies, I have never banned buggies, and I have a lot of loyal customers who come in with their children and buggies. “For me its common sense once it’s busy, then I know exactly where a buggy can go. If somebody arrives with a buggy, if there isn’t a space then we let them know. They can come in, but the buggy has to stay out, or they can come back and visit us when it’s a little quieter and there’s plenty of room.”
However, other cafés around the country have now entered the debate, saying that they’ve never had council or legislation issues when accommodating parents with prams.
“We have had people phone in advance to see if we can accommodate for those sorts of things, and also for wheelchairs and stuff like that, but we’ve never really had any problems,” said a worker at Wellington’s Pickle & Pie. “We definitely wouldn’t turn them away.”