Morgan County Health Dept.
The county's Clean Indoor Air Regulations go into effect, on Monday, July 30. These "no smoking" ordinances were passed in 2003 to protect the health of patrons and employees of businesses, offices, food establishments and other public places.
Second-hand smoke has been proven to be almost as harmful to non-smokers as smoking. Health departments have been given the task of protecting the health of the community and enforcing the ordinances.
The rulings apply to all public places, and it is easiest to examine where they do not apply. The ordinances state that the regulations do not apply in free standing bars, private residences, except when used as child care or health facilities, and hotel/motel rooms rented to guests.
Hotels and motels are encouraged to designate non-smoking rooms and can designate their entire property as a non-smoking area.
A free standing bar is defined in the ruling as a place that receives 50% or greater of total sales from the sale of alcoholic beverages. There are additional qualifiers in the definition, however. The bar must also have an impermeable barrier between it and any other part of the building. It must have a separate ventilation system, and it must be off limits to any person under the age of 18. An impermeable barrier cannot be a door or window that can be opened. It must be a solid wall.
A public place is any enclosed area
to which the public is invited or in which the public is permitted. Several area establishments have "members only" bars that are attached to reception halls that serve the public through receptions, public meetings, or banquet and dinners. Often these establish-ments have a doorway or entryway between the bar and reception hall. Therefore, in order to allow smoking in the bar area, it must meet the regulations mentioned in the previous paragraph.
Another provision of the law that can be misunderstood is where the regulations draw the line pertaining to smoking outside an establishment.
State and federal buildings must abide by the rulings already in
effect. The Morgan County ruling applies to all other public establishments. There will be no smoking allowed within 15 feet of the public establishment. Patrons and employees should not have to pass through
smoking areas in order to reach the building.
By July 30, each employer having an enclosed place of employment located within Morgan County must post a written no smoking policy which shall contain the following.
"Smoking shall be prohibited in all enclosed facilities within a place of employment without exception. This includes common work areas, auditoriums, classrooms, conference and meeting rooms, private offices, elevators, hallways, cafeterias, employee's lounges, stairs, restrooms, vehicles and all other enclosed facilities."
No smoking signs must be posted throughout each establishment and those areas that are exempt from the ruling must post signs advising patrons of the hazards of second-hand smoke and that minors are forbidden.
Owners, managers and operators of any establishment are responsible for adhering to this regulation. Copies of the entire policy and proper signs can be obtained from the Morgan County Health Department.
Those with questions or complaints about violators of this new policy should contact the Environmental Division of the Morgan County Health Department.