Ban damage update…
Pinkie Master’s Bar Fights Smoking Ban On 3rd Anniversary
Jan 01, 2014
By Greg Gullberg
SAVANNAH, GA – It’s been three years since a controversial smoking ban took effect in Savannah, and some bar owners tell us it’s still hurting business.
Wednesday was the anniversary of the start of the smoking ban in the City of Savannah, on January 1st, 2011.? And one year later they did the same thing in unincorporated Chatham County.? Ever since, customers of bars and restaurants that previously allowed smoking in-doors, have to take it outside.? But some bar owners say that’s creating all new problems.
“There’s a lot of trash outside now.? And we’ve gotten a lot of complaints trying to shut us down,” said Mallory Jen, manager of Pinkie Master’s on Drayton Street, which is known to be Savannah’s oldest bar.?
Jen says Pinkie Master’s used to be a popular place for smokers.
“We never had any problems or complaints at all so long as everyone was inside,” Jen said.??
One of the biggest complaints from the owners at Pinkie Master’s is that the ban forces their customers out onto the sidewalk and that amount of noise causes complaints including from the residences right next door.
“I get complaints and the cops called.? We’ve had fines for noise and stuff that we never did before,” Jen said.???
The ordinance requires all public spaces and workplaces in the city to be smoke-free.? Customers can be fined up to $100 and business owners can be fined $500, or even have their licenses revoked.? Jen says that’s not fair.
“We don’t have anyone under 21 come in here.? There’s no food served ever in here.? It’s just a straight up bar,” Jen said.???
A recent report from Georgia’s health department says bar owners shouldn’t be too upset because the smoke-free policies have not hurt their bottom line.? Jen says it’s true that they haven’t lost too many customers, because there’s nowhere else around to smoke with their drinks.
We asked folks walking around City Market what they think.
“Smoking in bars should not be allowed.? If you want to smoke, you can smoke outside and not poison others.? Because it’s not fair for others who don’t,” said Carl Serrano.???
“I agree with smoking in bars.? It’s the good part. Where else are you going to smoke, you know what I mean,” said Aaron Fleming.
Jen says she wishes the decision was just left up to the bar owners.
“I’d like to be able to see us smoke inside here again,” she said.???
We called about a dozen bars and restaurants Wednesday.? Some told us the ban is turning customers away and cutting down on their bottom line.? But others say more people seem to enjoy the smoke-free environment, than those who don’t.? And plenty of employees appreciate it as well.