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News Summary

Historic Restaurant Wants Exemption From Smoking Ban

Publication Date: 2005-05-26
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  • Publication:WESH NewsChannel 2 (Orlando, FL)
A historic, internationally known bar in Key West pushed through a bill in the Florida Legislature this spring that would allow bars in historic buildings to double the amount of food they can sell and still be exempt from the smoking ban.

The owners of Sloppy Joe's say the smoking ban left them at a competitive disadvantage because they can't make renovations to accommodate smokers outside their historic building, WESH 2 News reported.

The bill ticks off Mike Ferrara, who spent thousands of dollars bringing his nonhistoric establishment into compliance with the smoking ban, and he doesn't think it's fair to let one bar make its own rules...

An overwhelming 71 percent of voters said they wanted to ban smoking in restaurants and other workplaces. Brenda Olson, with the American Lung Association, said the Sloppy Joe's bill creates a dangerous precedent that disregards the voter's will.

"What we're concerned about is that other restaurants will be able to come and claim hardship exemptions," Olson said.

Gov. Jeb Bush hasn't signed the bill yet, and opponents hope he snuffs it out with his veto pen.