Thursday, May 08, 2008

Bars Can Have Smoking patios under Iowa law

As the state works out final details on how Iowa's sweeping statewide smoking ban will be implemented on July 1, one officials tells Iowa Independent bars will be allowed to have patios with smoking.

"In the law bars can have smoking on their patio," said Bonnie Mapes, director of Tobacco Use, Prevention and Control with the Iowa Department of Public Health. "What's being determined right now is what is a bar."

In other states and cities with bans, the distinction between restaurants and bars have been drawn largely based on percentage sales of food. Mapes is giving no clues about how this will work in Iowa, though.

"We are close to coming up with a definition," she said.

Mapes said draft rules will be made public soon but she provided no date.

One major issue will be the protocol the Iowa Department of Public Health will use to enforce the ban.

Mapes urges business owners to refrain from adding patios or taking other innovative measures until the final rules are released.

"We are counseling patience," Mapes said.

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