Smoking ban gets mixed reviews
Local bars adapt to ordinance change
Through a loophole, En Fuego Cantina in downtown Del Mar was one of the last restaurants able to allow smoking in part of its outdoor dining area. But due to a city ordinance banning all smoking in public, En Fuego Cantina is now one of the first to have to stop people from lighting up anywhere in its dining area and even near its front doors.
“It’s not like it was front-page news — we’ve been having to tell people a ton,” said owner John Wingate.
Those who smoke on city streets in Del Mar will be subject to a $100 fine if cited by a police officer. That could increase to up to $500 with repeated offenses.
Encinitas Sheriff Lt. Bill Donahue, whose department enforces the law, said officers have already issued “several” citations.
“It’s a very progressive ordinance,” he said. “The city fathers said, ‘Hey, we want to make a good quality of life in Del Mar.”
Wingate said he could foresee some positive effects on business from the ban. For instance, those who avoid bars because of secondhand smoke will no longer be wary of coming to downtown Del Mar. However, he said some of his clientele could be put off, especially during the peak tourism season.
“The biggest challenge will be telling the European traveler who is staying at L’Auberge, ‘I know you smoke everywhere else in the world, you just can’t smoke here.’ Will those travelers come back to Del Mar? That’s a tough call,” Wingate said.
But Wingate also said he believes it is only a matter of time before other cities follow suit.
“These cities all tend to talk so Solana Beach will probably go no smoking, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Cardiff, everybody else,” he said. “So you try to say as a businessman, ‘Are we going to lose customers because of this?’ Because people used to be able to come here and smoke.”
Solana Beach and Del Mar have both increased smoking restrictions in the past year. Solana Beach passed laws banning smoking in outdoor dining areas in 2009 and will charge a $110 licensing fee to tobacco retailers.
Anyone that does light up will have to find a creative way to put out the cigarette. The ordinance makes it illegal to provide ashtrays, to which Wingate said: “We kind of walk up to them with a cup of water.”
- Solana Beach City Council expands smoking ban
- DM council to review its smoking ordinance
- Del Mar council OK’s downtown smoking ban
- Expanded cafe smoking ban explored by city
- City of Solana Beach receives ‘B’ grade for its anti-smoking policies
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