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News Summary

Illinois may soon ban smoking in beer gardens, outdoor seating areas

Publication Date: 8/23/2014
  • Author:Matt Buedel
  • Publication:Peoria Journal-Star

Some of the last public places smokers can legally light up will become smoke free under new rules proposed by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Puffing would be explicitly banned in beer gardens, patios and other outdoor seating areas in the next six to nine months if the new regulations are adopted, according to a description of the rules published last week in the Illinois Register.

"This rule making focuses specifically on clarification that smoking is prohibited in a restaurant, bar and any area where food, beverages, or both, are prepared or served by employees, including outdoor areas such as patios, beer gardens, decks, or rooftops or concession areas," a description of the changes stated.

The clarification contradicts previous legislative efforts to establish outdoor places as acceptable smoking areas that were undertaken after a failed bid to cite smokers and bar owners in Peoria for lighting up in outdoor areas of restaurants...

Owner Dan Kouri said he sought counsel from the Illinois Department of Public Health before constructing the beer garden to determine whether patrons could legally smoke in the covered but permeable portion of the facility and was told in writing that smoking there would be allowable. The Health Department later said it had no record of the letter with Kouri's claims.

Peoria County State's Attorney Jerry Brady declined to prosecute the beer garden smoking tickets because of the law's ambiguity and worked with Koehler to clarify the smoking ban...