Put it out! The smoke clears in Summit
SUMMIT COUNTY – Reactions to Day 1 of Summit County’s new smoking ban included relief, confusion and an expletive.The new law, which bans smoking in public areas except on outside decks (unless otherwise prohibited by the establishment owner or the town), went into effect on Tuesday.”I love it,” said Coye Lester, a nonsmoker drinking a beer at the Moose Jaw in Frisco. “It should have been done a long time ago.”Gayle McLendon of Frisco forgot about the ordinance. “I walked in here and I thought it was crazy,” she said. “I need a cigarette so bad, and I’m like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t have one.'”But it’s not that big a deal. It makes sense,” she continued. “I used to work at Barkley’s, and I lost my voice before because of all the smoke. I might have a different stance, though, in the winter time.”Korey Scheefer of Silverthorne quit smoking four months ago.”Now that it’s smoke free, it’s a lot better. It smells better, the air’s cleaner,” Scheefer said.A few smokers, however, were downright angry. Brochures at one bar were defaced. The trifold pamphlet, which reads “Thank you for making Summit County smoke-free,” read “(Expletive) you for making Summit County smoke-free.””What (makes me mad) is people telling me what I can and can’t do in my own business,” said Sarah O’Havre, who works at the Goat and the Snake River Saloon in Keystone.Some said they will have a whole new set of concerns to address. One bartender, who asked not to be named, said, in the past, he had control over the entire bar and dining area. But now, with smokers forced to go outside on the front deck – a deck he can’t see from the bar.He anticipates underage people will try to obtain alcohol, others might try to leave with alcohol, some might try to do drugs and fights won’t be able to be contained as quickly.Amy Small, a bartender at the Goat, said it will make it that much harder to monitor the door – particularly in the winter – when the bar is crowded and patrons go in and out to smoke.”The government is protecting employees and the employees don’t want to be protected,” said Ray Newbold, who was drinking a beer at Ullr’s Sports Bar in Breckenridge. “I don’t smoke, and I don’t want to be protected.”Betsy St. John, who works at Murphys, said she thought the new law was “great – and I’m a smoker.” But like many others, she has issues with government telling business owners how to run their businesses.”I have mixed feelings,” said Ben Henion, a nonsmoker from Dillon who works at the Goat. “I disagree with it. You don’t have to go into a bar with smoke if you don’t want to.”Susan Lucero of Gator’s Blue River Inn at Farmer’s Korner gave away ashtrays as souvenirs Monday night. And she had to remind at least two patrons Tuesday that her bar is now a nonsmoking establishment.”Forget this,” said Maggie Kemp, who was talking about the ban with friends. “I’m going outside to smoke.”Bar spend to keep smokersBy Julie SutorSummit County CorrespondentSmokers are no longer allowed to light up inside Summit County bars, but some local bar owners are spending big money to make sure their patrons will still belly-up.”I invested $10,000 in a complete remodel,” said Jonn Greco, owner of Upstairs at Jonny G’s Sports Bar in Frisco. “I’m not doing this to gain patrons – I’m doing it to cater to my current patrons. This is, without a doubt, necessary.”A crew of construction workers spent Tuesday overhauling Greco’s deck to provide a sanctuary for smokers. A new smoking ban that took effect on Tuesday prohibits them from puffing indoors at the once-smoky bar.”It’s especially challenging for a place like Jonny G’s, because we’re on the second floor,” Greco said. “If I hadn’t done this, customers would have to go all the way downstairs and outside to have a cigarette. And they probably wouldn’t come back up.”While some bars are shelling out thousands, other previously smoke-friendly locales aren’t skipping a beat – namely those that already have decks and patios, like Murphy’s Food and Spirits in Silverthorne.”We have a patio with about 10 tables and a horseshoe pit,” said Murphy’s manager Jason Ward. “If they’re smoking, that’s where they’re going.”Ward said that several smoking patrons made their way outside without much complaint on Tuesday. “It’s definitely a big plus for me,” Ward said. “I can breathe in here again.”Dan Fallon, owner of Barkley’s West in Frisco, expects to bear increased labor costs during the long term, in addition to the short-term remodel costs.He is investing $4,000 in the construction of the “Zen Den,” an Asian-themed smoking gazebo adjacent to his club.”We’re trying to make lemonade out of some lemons,” Fallon said. “This is going to be set up away from the front door so smokers don’t feel like second-class citizens.”
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