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Posted December 2, 2009 | comments Leave a comment

Smoking ban now in effect

Area bars and eateries comply with legislation

By Amber Marra -- amarra@nvdaily.com

The smoking ban that took effect throughout Virginia on Tuesday has the local businesses that were previously smoker-friendly adjusting to the change.

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine signed legislation last spring that banned smoking in most public eateries and bars as of Dec. 1.

Restaurants that permitted smoking must now designate a closed-off smoking area with a separate ventilation system from the rest of the building if they want to continue with a smoking option.

Most businesses that allowed smoking in Shenandoah County, such as the Hi-Neighbor Country Restaurant, the Strasburg Theater and the Spring House Tavern, will probably remain smoke-free.

"I've had people walk in, stick their head in the door and walk out because of the smell [of smoke], it bothered a lot of people," said Pat Mumper, the owner of the Hi-Neighbor in Strasburg.

Like Mumper, many local businesses are in favor of the smoking ban because it could open their establishments to a larger variety of people.

Some clientele are not so thrilled about the ban.

"Some people have already been upset about it, as soon as we put up the no-smoking notes people were asking why," said Angi Horn, general manager at the Spring House Tavern in Woodstock.

Others who frequent local restaurants, like John Orndorff, a smoker who has been eating at the Hi-Neighbor for 40 years, have a more important agenda than smoking.

"They have good food here ... I have no problem with any restaurant being nonsmoking," he said.

There are exceptions to the ban. Outdoor bars and restaurants are permitted to allow smoking, along with private clubs, such as the Moose Lodge or the Veterans of Foreign Wars post.

Purchasing a whole new ventilation system and sectioning off a smoking area has some owners questioning the value of continuing to permit smoking in their establishments.

Others are unsure about how the ban will affect their businesses.

"I want to try to keep [the theater] nonsmoking, but if it affects my business dramatically then I'll designate an area for nonsmoking," said Irene Trivoulides, co-owner of the Strasburg Theater.

This was not echoed by most business owners contacted Tuesday, many of whom say the smoking ban will help their business, rather than hinder it.

"It has been a change, a lot of clientele were eating this morning instead of smoking," Mumper said.

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