Changes to IL law could ban smoking in beer gardens - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Changes to IL law could ban smoking in beer gardens

(Source: Giacomo Luca, KFVS) (Source: Giacomo Luca, KFVS)
Crossroads bar in Herrin, Ill. (Source: Giacomo Luca, KFVS) Crossroads bar in Herrin, Ill. (Source: Giacomo Luca, KFVS)
Smoking inside public places in Illinois has been banned since 2008. (Source: Giacomo Luca, KFVS) Smoking inside public places in Illinois has been banned since 2008. (Source: Giacomo Luca, KFVS)
HERRIN, IL (KFVS) -

Illinois smokers may want to think twice before lighting up a cigarette at an outdoor beer garden.

New changes to the Smoke Free Illinois Act makes it illegal to smoke at any public place with a ceiling and a floor, according to the non-partisan group Reboot Illinois.

Illinois State Health Department spokeswoman Melaney Arnold told Reboot Illinois the changes by the state's Joint Committee on August 11 clarified the law banning smoking in public places that's been in place since 2008.

While beer gardens aren't specifically banned in the changes, enclosed areas and regardless of temporary walls or permanent laws are no banned

Owner of Herrin, Ill. establishment Teddy's Bar and Grill, Bill Sizemore, spent more than $50,000 to building a beer garden to accommodate his smoking customers and the 2008 laws.

Teddy's patio has three permanent walls, a ceiling and grated fence as a fourth wall. Sizemore who first learned of the changes from Heartland News,  said he's left wondering if he'll need to ban smoking at his establishment.

A Teddy's customer and smoker, Ruth Harmon, visits the beer garden every Thursday with a group of friends. She said she's mad about the changes.

“I think that by coming out here in an open area – Should be allowed," Harmon said. "And a nonsmoker if they choose to come outside where smokers are, that’s their choice.”

The changes to the law are being left up to local law enforcement officials and health department officials.

Folks caught smoking illegally can be fined anywhere from $100 to $250. Businesses caught in violation of the smoking ban can be fined anywhere from $250 to $2,500.

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