ROCKFORD- The Illinois General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) is preparing to vote next month on new rules for the statewide smoking ban. Senator Dave Syverson (R-Rockford) is calling on his colleagues to reject expanding the rules to beer gardens and patios.
“Attempts to now ban outdoor ‘patio’ areas for smokers at restaurants and bars are unfair to smokers, as well as businesses that spent tens of thousands of dollars to follow the current law by creating separate outdoor areas for smokers,” said Senator Syverson.
The proposed new rules would extend the smoking ban to include even the current smoking designated areas outside the food establishment, if those patrons are served food or beverage.
After the Smoke Free Illinois Act passed, many businesses invested large sums to build and upgrade outdoor venues for their smoking customers to meet compliance with the new law. Now the owners of many of these establishments are frustrated and angry that the same administration would now propose changing the rules after the fact.
“Most people have been happy with the results of implementing the Smoke Free Illinois Act which banned smoking in restaurants, bars, clubs, and bowling alleys. Under that law a balance was met that allowed smokers to be able to be served, if outdoors, as long as they were 15 feet away from any entrance, exit, or window,” said Senator Syverson. “Both smokers and nonsmokers felt the law was fair and that it was working, which is why the Quinn administration should leave the law alone.”
The new smoking rules were scheduled to receive a vote by JCAR this week, but have been postponed until next month’s meeting.
“This is just indicative of an administration that continues to over regulate and overtax small businesses,” said Senator Syverson. “We wonder why businesses leave Illinois and why they're so fearful to invest here. When you have restaurants, bars, clubs, who followed all the rules and invested large sums of money then to be told the rules were going to be changed is wrong.”