Tomorrow, a local judge will declare a ruling about whether or not the smoking ban (which would make smoking in all bars, restaurants and non-casinos illegal) that was voted on by the public back in April will go into effect. It's most likely that the judge will rule in favor of the ban...but I have to ask the question, what's the rush?
The ordinance was slated to take effect 60 days after the election. It is now a couple weeks after that. My hope is that they will at the very least make the decision to have the ban not go into effect until after the end of the year.
Many of the downtown bars and restaurants are already feeling the impact of the city-funded Power and Light district downtown. The Mango Room, Fred P. Otts and Paddy O'Quigleys have all already closed. Tacking an all-out ban on smoking on top of the hit of the P&L District will undoubtedly mean that several other locally owned bars and restaurants will shut their doors. Emptybuildings are bad for Kansas City. Locally owned bars and restaurants going out of business is bad for Kansas City.
Let's give these local business owners until the end of the year to make some necessary changes to their businesses in order to compete under the new rules. The P&L District was designed to be non-smoking -- but in each case, the buildings all have outdoor seating that allow for smokers to enjoy their beer while they dine. Most of the local restaurants, which have to fight city ordinances in order to create sidewalk seating, don't have the same option. Giving these restaurants time to build outdoor/sidewalk seating options (while easing the red tape for them to do so) would be majorly beneficial in helping them put measures into place to compete with the P&L without the smokers.
Not doing so, will undoubtedly cause major hardships on locally owned bars and restaurants.