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Springfield Businesses Approach Deadline for Smoking Exemptions

Springfield’s ban on smoking isn’t for everyone. Many local businesses not looking to clear the air are applying for exemptions. KSMU’s Chasity Mayes reports.

Since 2003, when Springfield banned smoking in public places a few exceptions have been made. The city’s ordinance prohibiting smoking also allows qualifying restaurants to apply for an annual smoking exemption. Smoking exemptions for 2009 expired January 21st of this year. Reminder letters and renewal applications were mailed to businesses that hold a current smoking exemption.

Karen McKinnis, spokesperson, for the Greene County Health Department says for the most part businesses tend to renew their exemptions, but they always have a few each year that decide to go smoke free.

Currently, close to 90 local businesses are considered to be exempt from the smoking ban. According to the city’s Clean Indoor Air Ordinance, for a restaurant to qualify for an exemption, liquor must represent at least 50 percent of a business’s profits. Also, if liquor sales total 200,000 dollars in a year, smoking may be permitted. A restaurant that sells liquor can allow smoking as long as it’s in a separate, ventilated area. And establishments with fewer than 50 seats can apply for an exemption.Applications for exemptions should be submitted by January 31 to the Springfield-Greene County Health Department

For more information on the smoking ordinance you can call city offices at 864-1751.

For KSMU News, I’m Chasity Mayes.