Politici overwegen verzachting van New Yorkse anti-rookwetten
De totale rookverboden in de staat New York blijken zoveel problemen op te
leveren dat de lokale politici overwegen meer uitzonderingen toe te staan.
Ondertussen is de Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association volop
bezig om de wetten via de rechter opgeschort te krijgen.
“Since the ban went into effect July 24, hundreds of bar owners across New
York have complained of a significant drop in business. Some even said the ban
has forced them to close.”
Albany – The state leaders who took cigarettes out of bars and businesses this summer say they will consider options that could allow smokers to light up again in some taverns, but they won’t gut the Clean Indoor Air Act, as some lawmakers have called for. Regardless, advocates for reintroducing smoking at some bars aren’t holding their breath.
“The indications I’m seeing … the legal course is still our best chance at success,” said Scott Wexler, executive director of the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association.
That group has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn the smoking ban. Since the ban went into effect July 24, hundreds of bar owners across New York have complained of a significant drop in business. Some even said the ban has forced them to close. Gov. George Pataki said yesterday that he’s open to revisiting the law. Late last month, the state Department of Health issued guidelines for local health officials to issue smoking ban waivers if businesses could prove they suffered an “undue financial hardship.”
But the state never said how much of a hardship businesses had to endure to qualify, and as of this week, only one waiver – to Eastman Kodak in Rochester – had been granted. “We’ve had some discussions with some of the members, many of them advocating making some changes, ” said State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, R-C-Brunswick. “While we lament some loss of business in some places, I think we all have to stay focused on the big picture. Why did we do it? Why have other states done it. Why have counties across the state been doing it?” Bruno said. “Why? Because 86 percent or so of the people in this state support a smoking ban. They don’t want to be made sick.” Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, said yesterday that he’s willing to look at some form of relief for some businesses.Bron: Record Online