Smoking Ban: St. Louis County Small Businesses Fight For Exemptions, Fear Major Revenue Loss

Thumbnail image for Smoking quitting image.jpeg
More businesses in the county may have to ban smoking.
Today at the St. Louis County Council, members of the public will have an opportunity to offer feedback on a controversial proposal to expand a smoking ban to a variety of business establishments that are exempt under current policy.

Carol Fallert, owner of The Brew House in Maryland Heights, will testify -- and she says she is trying to get as many people as possible to speak out against a bill that could badly damage her bar.

"I'm spearheading this for the little guys, the neighborhood bars," Fallert tells Daily RFT. "This could drastically reduce my revenues."

Who would be impacted by the policy change?

As we reported last month, the St. Louis County Council bill under consideration would remove smoking ban exemptions for establishments like cigar bars, casino gaming areas and some drinking establishments. The full draft bill is on view below.

When the county originally adopted a wide-ranging smoking ban, they carved out some key exemptions for businesses that wanted to continue to allow smokers in their joints.

Carol Fallert Brew House.jpg
Courtesy of Carol Fallert
Carol Fallert, owner of The Brew House in Maryland Heights

But that could all change with a stricter policy that could be a major burden, says Fallert.

"It would really affect me financially. I spoke with a lot of customers that do smoke and they say, 'Look, Carol, I'll stay at home where I can smoke and have a couple of drinks,'" she says. "I don't have a patio...so my customers are gonna go down the street to another...[bar] where they can smoke."

As written, the bill maintains exemptions for private residences, private clubs, rehab facilities, permanently designated smoking rooms and retail establishments in which food isn't prepared on site and where more than sixty percent of the volume of trade or business relates to the sale of tobacco or tobacco-related products.

Fallert argues that the exemptions were originally intended for the smaller establishments.

"The Council...is losing sight of the very reason they put the exemption in the first place -- to protect small, neighborhood bars like mine," she says.

Continue for more of our interview with Carol Fallert and a full draft of the proposal.



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16 comments
Rhiannon Gurley
Rhiannon Gurley

finally people believe me when i tell them yes bars in stl smoke. what constitutes small bar anyway, small enough to make me leave because i can't breathe. no fear folks of revenue, people want bars they will go outside to smoke, many cities have done this

Maria Rivera Benson
Maria Rivera Benson

You can't imagine how AWESOME it is going into restaurants, bars and clubs where it's smoke free. When I travel to other cities, I'm shocked that they're still asking if you would like to be in smoking or non smoking area.

Neil Aimaro
Neil Aimaro

I believe that decision should be left up to the owner.

Brewneaux Welldone
Brewneaux Welldone

It is the owner's decision and if you Mr. and Mrs Perfect don't like it they can go elsewhere or start their own business and do what they want. Overwhelming majority?? ...whatever, this is a republic not a democracy and yet it seems so hard for the fart sniffers to grasp that.

Lisa Corley Davis
Lisa Corley Davis

For anyone interested, I'll be opening up a new bar/restaurant that doesn't allow non-smoking, idiocy, or Peggy. Anyone who doesn't fit into those categories is more than welcome to come by. The rest of you can have your egocentric, self-absorbed chats about "healthy living" over McDonald's without having to deal with sensible smoking persons. Seems fair to me. Let's pass a law.

Lisa Corley Davis
Lisa Corley Davis

Seriously Peggy? You don't get parallels, do you? The point is that we can't all have every restaurant suit our own personal needs. If you're too thick-skulled to get that, then perhaps "dumbest fucking thing on earth" applies to you. Also, piss off for calling me out and then looking like an idiot, yourself. You lose.

Peggy Keller
Peggy Keller

While I agree that business owners should be able to decide if they want the hassle, risk and cost associated with allowing smoking- I have to say, comparing it to screeching toddlers is the dumbest fucking comparison on earth. Use some critical thinking skills. A non-smoker can choose to not go to a bar that allows smoking, an employee can choose not to work there and avoid the risk of second hand smoke. The only physical harm screeching toddlers do to a body is possibly cause stress in someone else who is already stressed from things like a poor diet (McDonalds) or Smoking.

Couch Pig
Couch Pig

I think we should ban cars from driving on streets i dont want to breathe that pollution neither

Lisa Corley Davis
Lisa Corley Davis

Absolutely. Besides the fact that the owner should be able to determine what perfectly legal activities go on in his/her establishment... A lot of single people despise going out to eat (at somewhere other than a McDonald's with a Playplace) and having a table full of screeching toddlers disrupt the whole restaurant, too. Do you see us asking for a ban on children in restaurants? Perhaps we should. Maybe we should also make some areas "Mandatory Smoking" places. Don't come here if you don't want to light up. Seriously, though... having sections devoted to smoking and non worked out fine for most people. Those who still complained then are far too self-absorbed to be worth listening to, and they will still be complaining when the smokers are standing outside freezing to death for their cigarette that the smoke is in their way, anyway. Some people can't be pleased - no need to ruin it for the rest of us.

Mark Bland
Mark Bland

I don't understand why people that don't smoke, feel they should be able to impose will on a business owner that wants to permit smoking. It's like a house...some houses people smoke in, some don't...but if you are a guest to a house, you don't have the right to tell a homeowner they can't smoke in their home. Thats BS. So you shouldn't be able to tell a business owner they can't have smoking in their establishment.... "but I like the food and hate the smoking"...too bad. Their delicious food and ambience wasn't granted to you. It was made available to come to it or not. So if you like the food and want to be in that ambience...then you are going to have to take the smoking with it. Its a package.

Chris Ferguson
Chris Ferguson

Any business should be able to decide what legal activity goes on under their own roof.

Marie DeFer
Marie DeFer

Absolutely no. Don't punish non-smoking (the overwhelming majority of the population) patrons and restaurant workers with gross second hand smoking!

David B Fowler
David B Fowler

Business decision . Do gooders go somewhere else. On your once a month nite out.

AMrsh617
AMrsh617

To Rhiannon, tell that to the face of bar owners that've had to close their doors, as a result of local or state bans in other parts of the country. I can name a lot of bars and other establishments that permanently closed as a result of the Illinois smoking ban for good, and would likely still be open if the ban had not passed. It's selfish to demand ALL bars be smoke-free due to a law that a minority of people(and mainly those who are very anti-smoking, and are over the top self righteous) want, when public exterior signage stating that a business chose to be a smoking establishment would suffice fine. I noticed Indiana and Saint Louis city included such a provision for bars(requiring them to post exterior signage, if they elected to permit smoking inside), which seems more than fair to those who don't care for indoor smoking, or would rather not work at an adult-only bar or establishment choosing to permit smoking.

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