August 22, 2007
Under the proposed change, the outside of a restaurant, like a patio or deck, would be defined as a food establishment and the actual inside where the food is cooked and served would be the restaurant.
The outside of your favorite restaurant could be the only place you can light up during dinner.
The proposed change as to what the boundaries of a restaurant are comes about after legislatures shot down a statewide smoking ban last winter.
Opponents of that ban say it was broadly written and there is room for wide interpretation.
Now state officials have gone back to the drawing board and are going to give it another try. With this new change comes another round of varying opinions/
“By banning smoking when you have a large bar crowd like we do you kind of take away a competitive edge, because there is unfortunately sometimes a natural link between smoking and drinking,” said Scott Roth, McGrady’s Co-owner.
The restaurant industry again isn't welcoming the idea of banning smoking even if it is just inside.
An industry lobbyist says if legislators are interested in a statewide smoking ban, then it should apply to all indoor public areas.
Local business owner Roth says as long as the ban applies to all restaurants it could be a plus.
“It would be a tremendous advantage for us, I’m not going to lie about that. Having a large patio outside would allow customers to come inside and if they wanted to take a few steps outside and still be in part of our establishment and would be able to have their drink and their food outside and still smoke,” said Roth.
This definition change is key to the smoking ban proposal. Again, just this past winter legislatures shot down the proposed ban in both the house and senate chambers.
This change is part of Governor Tim Kaine's attempt to ban smoking in restaurants statewide.