Smoking Ban Proposed in Columbia
An all bar and restaurant ban may not go into effect for quite some time. Right now, it's a proposal for the city council. The proposal would force all restaurants and bars in Columbia to become non smoking facilities. The only exclusion will be private clubs that don't primarily rely on food and drink sales for income. But some restaurant owners are not happy about the proposal.
George Liggett owns the Grand Cru restaurant in Columbia and a major part of its allure, he says, is how it caters to the smoking community. If the the ban goes through he will have to go non-smoking at a restaurant known to be a cigar club.
"I think I am losing my whole identity with my restaurant, when we my partners built this, that was the whole idea.And it was sanctioned by the city at the time," Liggett said.
Other restaurants have already gone smoke-free. Making the change from a smoking to a non-smoking establish means restaurant owners need to accomadate their smoking guests in other ways, such as these cigarette recepticals outside and heated patios. Restaurants that have made the switch are happy with the decision though.
"We felt that the climate in Columbia was ready to accept a restaurant of this size, our main reason for doing it was the health of our employees, and requests from our non-smoking guests," Flat Branch Brewery owner Jim Lee said.
Either way right now restaurants still have the choice to be one or the other.Other cities like Lawrence, Kansas have already gone smoke free. Supporters of the ban want to use that model.