Any establishment that limits its patronage to those over 21 should retain the right to allow the use of a legal product on their private property. This is even more strongly true of private clubs, Union Halls, and VFW Halls. I believe ordinary citizens, and even officials with the Health Department, understand that. But a law has been passed that must be enforced to some extent. As long as any nonexempt establishment posts "No Smoking" signs and removes all ashtrays, the establishment is in compliance with this law. The St. Louis City Smoke Free Air Act of 2009 does not compel any establishment to act as a police officer. Though free to do so if they wish, no owner is under any obligation to make a patron stop smoking or force a smoking patron to leave. If signs are posted and ashtrays removed, only the smoker, not the establishment, is in violation of the smoking ban. I believe such an interpretation of the enforcement provisions of the St. Louis City Smoke Free Air Act of 2009 will hold up in court.
It is clear the the Board of Aldermen intended to exempt all establishments with less than 2000 sq. ft. of "people space" that sell more alcohol than food from the ordinance for five years. Having sat through the deliberations of the Board of Aldermen, it is clear they accepted the state of Missouri's definition of a bar and did not wish to impose a food percentage restriction beyond that definition of "bar". Any establishment of less than 2000 sq. ft. of people space that sells more alcohol than food should consider themselves exempt under this law.
Finally, Health Director Walker indicates that fully-enclosed tents will be counted towards people space. The St. Louis City Smoke Free of 2009 never mentions tents specifically, but does regulate fully-enclosed spaces to which the public has access. As long as any tent is not fully- enclosed on all four sides, it should not be counted toward the 2000 sq. ft. limit.
Keep St. Louis Free is a group that fights to protect the personal freedoms and property rights of St. Louisans from dumb government intervention and harassment. We are willing to help anyone in St. Louis whose freedom and property rights are threatened. We have worked to protect property owners from eminent domain abuse and strongly support the gun rights of St. Louisans. But we have had our greatest success during the past 7 years defending the freedom and property rights of St. Louis City and County business owners from an unjustified smoking ban.
Keep St. Louis Free works to elect and support political leaders who respect the freedoms and property rights of St. Louis citizens.
If you care about St. Louis freedom and property rights, please join. We have fought against all sorts of unjust and irrational theft and restriction by government in St. Louis over years. Our campaign really began with a protest against the taking by St. Louis University head Fr. Biondi of our beloved music venue 20North back in 1999. Though many of our members have a special dislike for smoking bans and a reputation for defeating them, YOU DON"T HAVE TO OPPOSE SMOKING BANS TO JOIN!
My family has lived in St. Louis since the 1840's. I got interested in defending St. Louis freedoms and property rights from dumb government intervention after Father Biondi and the St. Louis Board of Alderman took away my friend's bar, 20 North, just after I had restored its exterior, to tear it down and plant grass. I started "Keep St. Louis Free!" to fight Kurt Odenwald's attempt to put a smoking ban on bars in St. Louis County. I don't want my kids to smoke but I also don't want them to grow up in a country, or a city, where it is illegal for a man to smoke a cigar in a bar. City officials should always err on the side of freedom and property rights.
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