Lindsay passes new smoking ordinance

The Lindsay City Council voted unanimously to approve an ordinance banning smoking in public places in the city of Lindsay during their Dec. 14 meeting. The ordinance spells out definitions, limitations and penalty provisions.

Businesses have three months to implement a written smoking policy to include customers and employees.

In an interview with the Register Tuesday, Lindsay Mayor Pro-Tem Don Metzler said that the ordinance takes effect Mar. 15, 2010.

“We looked at the no-smoking ordinance six to nine months ago,” Metzler said.

He said their first idea was to ban smoking out-right, totally, in all restaurants in the city.

“Some of the city businesses didn’t care for it,” Metzler said.

He said they got together with the businesses to work out something that everyone could live with.

“What we tried here is not to hurt our local businesses,” he continued. “We didn’t want to hurt their current business more than necessary.”

The draft ordinance reads in Section 1 (a) (3), “Place of employment means any enclosed indoor area under the control of an employer to which employees have access during the course of employment, including, but not limited to work areas, employee lounges, employee restrooms, conference rooms, and employee cafeterias; A private residence is not a place of employment.”

The draft ordinance reads in Section 1 (a) (4a), “Public places means any enclosed indoor area that is used by the general public, or that is a place of employment, and includes, but is not limited to: stores, offices, and other commercial establishments; restaurants, public and private institutions of higher education; health care facilities; nursing and convalescent homes; and government subsidized senior citizen residential facilities; (4b) any public swimming pool owned or operated by the City, inclusive of the entire area within the enclosure devise.”

The draft ordinance Section 1 (e) (1 and 2) states each employer must adopt, implement and maintain a written smoking policy which includes: employer responses to any non-smoking employee who objects about smoke and satisfactory accommodation and when the preferences of nonsmoking employees shall prevail.

For restaurants, the ordinance means designating separate seating areas: one as a non-smoking section and one as a smoking section.

Metzler confirmed that some establishments, such as the Lindsay Gun Club and the Dutchman banquet room are exempt from the ordinance because they are used for private social functions. He said that for some establishments like the gun club, their building is not equipped to separate the smoking and non-smoking groups.

Establishments in which 50 percent of its annual gross sales is from alcoholic beverages sold for on-premises consumption, a separated bar area of a restaurant and a tobacco specialty retail shop are exempt from parts of the ordinance.

Violations will be misdemeanors which will bring fines that cannot exceed $500 for each offense. Each day a violation of the ordinance continues shall constitute a separate offense.

Metzler said an example of a violation is if you go in to a restaurant and they do not have spaces designated for a seperate smoking and non-smoking section. Another violation is if people smoking are not sitting in the designated smoking area.

Places of business must prominently display a reasonable-sized notice that smoking is prohibited by law. Facilities must also be equipped for extinguishing of smoking materials.

Because it is a “health and safety issue” the ordinance was approved with the first reading and did not require the three readings, Metzler said. He added that they are putting the signatures on the final version of the ordinance.

Metzler said that businesses in the city of Lindsay are not strongly against the approved version of the no-smoking ordinance.

source: www.gainesvilleregister.com

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