Exemptions to smoking ban tossed out | SummitDaily.com
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Exemptions to smoking ban tossed out

Christine McManus

BRECKENRIDGE – Summit County attorneys revealed the preliminary details of a proposed smoking ban Monday.

Smoking likely will be banned in unincorporated Summit County restaurants, bars, retail stores, theaters, health facilities, sports arenas, bowling alleys, bus stops, gondolas, offices, banks, laundromats, libraries, public restrooms and elevators, child-care facilities, lobbies, museums, libraries and the common areas of apartment buildings, condominium complexes, retirement homes and nursing homes.

Commissioner Gary Lindstrom said last week the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) would consider exemptions. He changed his mind this week, persuaded perhaps by Commissioner Bill Wallace or SmokeFree Summit advocates.

“The voters said, “in enclosed restaurants, bars and public places,'” Wallace said. “”The public,’ means anywhere the public has a right go.” Wallace has made these points repeatedly, never wavering from his stance.

Smoking would not be regulated by the government in private homes, hotel rooms, tobacco stores and for actors on stage.

The draft law is silent on, and therefore allows, smoking patios and smoking outside of businesses.

Employees rights to work in a smoke-free work place were not mentioned on the ballot question. Advocates of the smoking ban have said they are concerned about the health of servers and bartenders who work in smoky restaurants and bars.

The BOCC will not review the smoking ban from the employee health vantage point, said county attorney Frank Celico.

Any proprietors could ban smoking in their establishments independently from the list of places where smoking will be banned, says the draft law.

First-time violators could be fined up to $100. Second-time violators could be fined $200 maximum and further offenses would lead to $300 maximum fines, if the ordinance passes as is on Jan. 26.

The unincorporated county smoking ban is tentatively scheduled to go into effect June 1.

Town councils might vote on bans or choose to host their own elections in April. There has been some question whether voters intended the smoking ban to be countywide, not just in unincorporated parts of the county, but also in the towns as well.

In the second of six public comment meetings, Breckenridge, Frisco and Silverthorne officials listened in on Monday morning. But town officials didn’t say much yet.

“The Frisco Town Council is waiting for the county discussion to go a little further,” said Linda Lichtendahl, Frisco community relations director. “They want to see what the other towns do.”

Dillon officials have already had several work sessions. Mayor Barbara Davis strongly supports a smoking ban in Dillon.

Owners of bars and restaurants and SmokeFree Summit advocates attended the second of six public comment sessions.

“If you fine a tourist $100, I guarantee you he won’t ever come back to Summit County,” said Jonn Greco, owner of Jonny G’s bar in Frisco.

Law enforcement officers would be reasonable, only fining habitual offenders if needed, Lindstrom said. He recommended that concerned business owners visit nonsmoking businesses.

Owners of bars and restaurants asked commissioners to consider exceptions to the ban, such as allowing smoking in bars after 10 p.m.

“I’ve watched my customers since this move for a smoking ban began. They enjoy smoking a lot,” Greco said. “I have a second-floor business and my patio would only hold about 20 people. I wish I’d protested more against this before the Nov. 4 vote.”

The remaining public meetings are on Jan. 5, 12, 19 and 26 at the courthouse on 208 Lincoln Ave. in Breckenridge. The BOCC plans to vote Jan. 26 on the details of a smoking ban requested by voters on Nov. 4.

By a 2-to-1 margin, Summit County voters chose to ask commissioners to implement a smoking ban in restaurants, bars and public places.

County attorneys wrote the draft ban modeled after the Colorado Tobacco Education and Prevention Alliance’s suggested smoking ban.

Christine McManus can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 229, or cmcmanus@summitdaily.com.


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