Local Restaurant Owners Concerned About Smoking Ban

Two weeks from Monday, it will be illegal to smoke in any workplace in Wisconsin, which includes bars and restaurants. Some of which are scrambling to make critical adjustments.

The city of Milwaukee’s Licensing Committee said it has seen quite an increase this year in applications for beer gardens and patios for bars and restaurants.

“Everybody’s talking about it. Everybody does. And everybody says the same thing, ‘You need a patio to drink and smoke outside,” said Joe Stern, owner of the southside bar, Jugheads.

Stern decided to go before the licensing committee because he wants to build a patio outside his bar, where his customers could smoke and drink.

“I’m hoping they work with me and give me the permit to drink outside on my patio. That’s the only way around it really, as far as the smoking ban is concerned,” Stern said.

His extension of premises was delayed due to his alderman’s concern about noise.

“The extension of premises is so you can drink while you’re smoking. You can always go outside and smoke, but to be able to take the drink outside, that’s the change, and it seems our hearing gets worse the more alcohol we have and we get louder and louder,” said Alderman Terry Witkowski

Others are embracing the change, such as Botana’s restaurant in Milwaukee, where owner Jaime Gonzalez implemented the smoking ban a month early.

“We tried to go in advance so when the law goes into place, we will have no problems; people will be trained,” said Gonzoalez

He’s considering a remote smoking area, but not where he serves food or alcohol. Even the patio is smoke-free and that even extends to his sculpture.

“Since we made it non-smoking, we ended up taking the cigar out of my amigo down in the corner, so he’s just saying peace,” Gonzalez said

Fines of at least $100 dollars can be levied against violators and the city is still working out just how that will be policed.

source: wisn.com

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