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Outdoor Dining Smoking Ban Delayed

By Lookout Staff

July 2 -- The City has delayed enforcing an ordinance that strengthens local smoking laws by making business owners liable who “knowingly or intentionally” allow patrons to light up in outdoor dining areas.

Enforcement of the main provision of the law -- which was set to kick in July 22 -- will await the launching of a public information campaign delayed when it took longer than expected to sign the contract with the public relations firm, City officials said.

“The City wants to make sure businesses have the full benefits of this campaign before we start enforcement,” said Deputy City Attorney Adam Radinsky, who is in charge of consumer affairs.

But other provisions of the ordinance which was approved in April, are set to kick in on July 22. The kick-in date already was pushed back to 90, instead of the usual 30, days after the law was approved, Radinsky said.

The new law extends Santa Monica’s smoking ban to all public library grounds and lowers the fines for first-time violations to $100 from $250, putting it in line with other cities that have similar smoking bans.

The outreach campaign being developed by Southard Communications still must receive a go-ahead from the council, which has not set a hearing date.

The campaign – which includes signs displayed prominently at all locations affected by the ban – will tout the benefits of living in a smoke-free environment.

Among a series of local anti-smoking efforts made in recent years, the new law was approved after police issued 19 citations to restaurant patrons caught smoking outdoors, evidence that restaurant and bar owners are not enforcing the ordinance, Radinsky said.

Cities such as Beverly Hills, Burbank and Calabasas that have banned outdoor smoking also have imposed fines on business owners and managers whose patrons violate the law.





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