Een nieuwe wet in de staat Florida geeft oude kroegen en restaurants weer de mogelijkheid om, onder bepaalde voorwaarden, roken toe te staan. Reden daarvoor: de panden zijn meestal moeilijk aan te passen om er een aparte rookruimte in aan te brengen.
Sloppy Joe`s, stamkroeg van Ernest Hemingway, is zo’n bar die binnenkort weer rokers welkom zal heten.
A bill making its way through the Florida Legislature would make it easier for bars that serve food to allow smoking — if the bar is individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The measure has aroused opposition from the American Lung Association, which fears the bill would weaken the state’s ban on smoking in restaurants.
The bill, filed in the state House of Representatives by Rep. Ken Sorensen, R-Key Largo, could apply to Key West landmark Sloppy Joe’s, which is applying for National Register listing.
Sloppy Joe’s is one of the island’s best known establishments, famous for being the hangout of writer Ernest Hemingway when he lived on the island in the 1930s.
In 2002, Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment that banned smoking from indoor workplaces, including restaurants. The Legislature then approved a law to implement the amendment that allowed an exemption for standalone bars that make no more than 10 percent of their revenues from selling food.
The bill, which has cleared two committees in the House and one in the state Senate, would allow smoking in National Register-listed bars if they make up to 20 percent of their revenues from food sales.
Sloppy Joe’s makes about 17 percent of its revenue from selling food, according to president and CEO Chris Mullins.
Mullins, who has testified in support of the bill in Tallahassee, said Sloppy’s needs the bill because the bar is prohibited by historic building regulations from making structural modifications to create a smoking area.