Montgomery Leaders Make Smoking Ban Decision
ROCKVILLE, Md. -- A ban on smoking in restaurants and bars in Montgomery County was approved Tuesday by the County Council.
The ordinance does not include a proposed two-year delay in implementation. County Executive Doug Duncan has 91 days to consider the measure. The ordinance would not apply to outdoor businesses.
Jeff Owens is the chief financial officer of Clyde's restaurants. He said that when smoking bans have been tried in other jurisdictions, business dropped dramatically. He anticipates a decrease in bar sales of up to 25 percent.
But Councilwoman Nancy Floreen says 90 percent of county residents aren't smokers, providing a tremendous market for area restaurants.
"Smoking is already prohibited in every workplace in the state - except restaurants. Today we've closed that loophole and protected restaurant customers and employees alike from the known health hazards of second-hand smoke," Floreen said.
Some restaurant operators had suggested a compromise that would include allowing restaurants to build glass-enclosed areas set aside for smokers. That measure was defeated Tuesday.