Bar owners say this new ban will cost them their business as customers flock to bars outside the Azalea City, but bar owners aren't the only ones who disagree with the plan.
Back in December the Valdosta City Council approved an indoor smoking ban for all public buildings within the city limits, so after addressing some minor issues, the council voted Thursday night to install the plan, which still includes a ban on smoking in free standing bars, a move many think will cost Valdosta businesses and jobs.
"Right now under the current ordinance, bars are going to be included and I think that is not a good move for this city to take. I think we need to exclude bars from this ordinance so that they can go on with smoking allowed, I think by doing this, we are strangling our bar owners in the City of Valdosta. We are going to run them out of business," says John Eunice of the Valdosta city Council.
"There's no question that we have an up hill battle as far as attacking the constitutionally of it, but it’s the bar owners only choice," adds Jody Peterman, an attorney for bar owners.
The sponsor of the smoking ban feels the ban will survive in its current form.
Bar owners can only hope now that their customers will not flee to bars in nearby communities when Valdosta's indoor smoking ban goes into effect on March 1.
Eventually, smokers could be fined for lighting up indoors. Business owners could also be held responsible if they allow customers to smoke.
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