Friday, April 16, 2010

Beer News: Smoke-free in Michigan on May 1

Featuring Comments from New Holland Brewing Company
Smoking ban: What about enforcement?
Counties, health depts. to have responsibilities

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Smoke-free air: Coming to restaurants and bars across the state May 1.

But health departments, such as the one in Ottawa County, are working hard to pull it off.

"This is going to create a challenge for us because there is going to be some enforcement," said Adam London, of the Ottawa County Health Department. "And the state has not provided funding for the enforcement, at least in restaurants and bars."

It will be up to the health departments to enforce the new smoke-free law, excluding 12 counties such as Kent and Ionia. The county's job will be deciding how to regulate it. Ottawa County already has a strategy that uses existing staff.

"We do have sanitarians do the restaurant inspections, and they will be looking for compliance with the smoke-free law during their regular inspections," London said.

For the first offense, a business would receive a letter asking management to explain what happened. And after that?

"A second violation would result in a corrective action plan essentially being asked of them," London said. "If they continue to have a problem, it would result in on-site visits from us."

Failure to comply could lead to the county revoking a food license from a business.

But that's not a problem at the world headquarters of New Holland Brewing, which has been smoke-free for seven years.

"The only thing we think it's going to affect is our front and back patios," said Shawna Cantu, the assistant general manager at New Holland. "And a little bit of our employees, as well."

The smoking ban impacts decks, where no food or drinks will be allowed if smokers choose to light up there. But New Holland employees say they think the smoking ban will be a draw, not a deterrent, for business.

"And I think the fact they're not coming into a smoky place just to enjoy a beer," Cantu said. "We have a lot of families that come in here as well, and I think they just feel comfortable."

In Holland, there have been workplace-related offenses for smoking ordinances. In 2008, there were 23 and last year there were 11 complaints. So far, this year there have been three.


1 comment:

  1. I was at Crunchy's recently, and noticed their new shrubbery surrounding the ol' smokers patio. They're spruce-ing (heh heh) it up! It remains to be seen whether this is an attempt to beautify the town's favorite dive bar, or if it's simply a screen to shelter lawless smokers from the prying eyes of the public.


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