Smoke-Free Savannah law in effect at noon Saturday - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Smoke-Free Savannah law in effect at noon Saturday

By Don Logana - bio | email

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - In just two days, there will be no lighting up inside Savannah's workplaces and bars.

The smoke-free Savannah ordinance goes into effect at 12 p.m. on New Years Day. Many say it's time for the change.

The days of smoking in a favorite bar is almost over for Caroline Ingram, Joshua Markey and many others who enjoy lighting up. Whether they like it or not.

"I believe police have more to do than monitor and ticket people for cigarettes when crime is so high," said Ingram. She added that Savannah is way behind as far as the law is concerned.

"People don't mind walking outside and smoking," Markey said.

Under the new ordinance, smokers will only be able to smoke outside and at least 10 feet from any business entrance.

"There will be a few people who don't know about it who will try to light up, but besides that I don't see it being a big deal," Markey said.

Amy Hughes heads up Breathe Easy Savannah. For the last year she has worked with city officials to get the smoke free ordinance passed.

"We're really excited it goes into effect on noon on Saturday," she said.

The new measure also eliminates smoking in outdoor seating for restaurants unless the outside seating is at least 50 percent of the indoor seating and private clubs and organizations are not exempt.

Hughes said that fears of a negative impact on business will go away.

"Businesses do not see a decrease in revenues because of smoking ordinances," she said.

Ingram said she thinks that sales may drop for a period, don't know what long-term effect will be.

"There are plenty of bars that do not allow smoking now so why would it change anything for other bars?" Markey asked.

He said he already measuring out his smoking spot outside one of jis favorite spots, at McDonough's bar and restaurant.

To file a complaint about a smoking ordinance violation, the City of Savannah is telling citizens to call 311. However, 311 does not work with all cell phone carriers.

Hughes says anyone with questions, concerns, or want to file a violation complaint can also call the Citizen's Office with the City of Savannah at 912-351-6527.

Seeveral businesses, including Kevin Berry's on River Street and Frozen Paradise, will be holding Breathe Easy parties on Saturday morning from 11AM to 1PM, with cigarette butts put out at Noon.

For an in-depth look at the smoke-free Savannah ordinance, go to www.healthysavannah.org/smokefree.

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