The City's well publicized smoking crackdown of 2010 got a lot of headlines but resulted in nothing more than some well known bars getting fined. But with the nightclubs being more vigilant about stopping their customers from smoking indoors, it seems the City's younger and more attractive inspectors have moved on to more lucrative pastures. Gothamist reports that inspectors are now focusing on backyard bar smoking, leading to some of the bloggers' preferred outdoor bars to crackdown on the habit. For a bar to comply with the Smoke Free Air Act of 2003, "1) the outdoor area has no roof or other ceiling enclosure; (2) the smoking area constitutes no more than 25% of the outdoor seating capacity; 3) the smoking area is at least 3 feet away from the non-smoking area; and 4) the smoking area is clearly designated with signage." Apparently not many operators know or have been enforcing the rules of the road.
One bar owner with a backyard reports that the inspector who wrote him up was actually pretty nice about it, telling Gothamist that the inspector:
...knew it was stupid. He told me, 'Take all your ashtrays, dump them and hide them. I'm not going to write you up for the ashtrays, but I have to write you up for smoking out here.' We were fined $250. His decision to look the other way on the ashtrays meant I wasn't encouraging smoking; if he'd fined me for the ashtrays it would have been a lot more.A similar thing happened on a follow up visit when the inspector had the owner hand write No Smoking signs to be in compliance.
So now all smoking will be done on the street to the horror of the neighbors or in a sliver of a backyard, where we can imagine smokers packed together like sardines as a bouncer keeps a watchful eye. If only there was another way.
· Is Health Dept. Cracking Down on Backyard Bar Smoking? [Gothamist]
· Smoking Ban Coverage [~ENY~]