Smoking ban proposal in Cape Girardeau worries businesses - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Smoking ban proposal in Cape Girardeau worries businesses

By Christy Millweard - bio | email

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - The question is: to smoke, or not to smoke? But who will answer the question? 

The organization Breathe Easy collected more than 2,500 signatures to ban smoking in bars and restaurants in Cape Girardeau. But the signatures had to be verified. Cape County Clerk Kara Clark-Summers did just that, and said she would turn the signatures back over to Cape City Council some time Monday.

The city council has two choices. They can either pass the smoking ban, or send it to voters on the April ballot.

The possibility of the smoking ban, has some business owners worried. But Jerry Lynn, manager of Buffalo Wild Wings understands both sides of the argument.

"The good being, don't smell like smoke, you can come in here and not worry about the smoke smell, period," said Lynn. "Your drinkers that do smoke might be upset because they've got to walk further outside."

Beef O'Brady's is smoke free in the entire establishment, but still up in the air if the ban would take away customers since they would have more smoke-free choices.

"Because I'm a non-smoker is the reason we're non-smoking," said owner Lee Hillman. "Actually we thought there was a need for it, we're geared towards kids, everything going towards families, so we went ahead and decided non-smoking."

It's a decision Hillman knows can be a risky move.

"We lose some people I'm not going to kid you, for the most part everybody A waits until they get out of here, or they'll step outside real quick," said Hillman.

But Lynn wonders if people will want to take the extra time to step outside.

"It might hurt us, but on the second hand for people that might not smoke, or don't want to smell like smoke, it might help us," said Lynn.

Lynn says the ban wouldn't really mean big changes to his business.

"Other than just take off the ashtrays and let them know they have to go outside to smoke that would be it...its a longer walk outside, that would be it," said Lynn.

"They're like 'I don't really smell the smoke,' I'm like that's cause we're non-smoking," said Hillman.

Even though he has had positive feedback about the decision to open from the start as a non-smoking establishment, he still wonders what effect the smoking ban would have.

"We argue that at the house all the time, and I just don't know. I don't think it will have an ill effect. It is kind of our niche, so you like to kind of be 'the one'," said Hillman.

But what if you're the one smoking.

"What do you do for smokers, I'm like they step outside," said Hillman.

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