Don't get too comfortable, smokers. The Board of Supervisors has closed a loophole in the city's smoking ban that allowed cigarettes on patios.
Passed earlier this year, the legislation just went into effect. It was sponsored by Eric Mar and applies to almost all restaurants in the city, as well as ATM lines, bingo halls, and common areas in housing.
Business owners initially balked at the proposal, but it's not necessarily bad news for business. It's in everyone's best interests to protect employees from workplace hazards, after all. And there are exemptions in the legislation that will continue to allow smoking at owner-operated bars and tobacco shops.
Even though smoke dissipates more quickly outdoors, it's still dangerous for those nearby. It can also make it more difficult for bystanders to quit, because the smell of cigarette smoke will trigger the physiological chemical dependencies that make cigarettes so addictive.
Initially, business owners were responsible for policing the area outside of their establishment. That provision was eliminated from the final version.
Restaurant owners could be fined up to $500 for a violation.