Grafton Restaurant Receives Smoking Ban Warning?
25 Feb 2008
It’s been two months since Illinois snuffed out smoking in workplaces, including bars and restaurants. Exactly how it’s being enforced is still in question.? Often, it depends on the county.?
?The owner of a Grafton restaurant said Monday she’d just been burned by the ban.? Lilly’s family style restaurant was just written up for violating the smoking ban.? The owner received a notice Monday, even though she and her customers said Lilly’s banned smoking long before the state of Illinois ever did.?
?Joyce Hurst, Lilly’s owner, read the violations from notice she received from the Jersey County Health Department.?
?”Smoking within 15 feet on an entrance;? ashtrays on my tables;? smoking in the dining room area and kitchen area’, all of these are false,” she said.?
?”I haven’t seen any ashtrays.? I have seen anybody smoking,” said long time non-smoking customer Carol Edwards.?
?The notice was a warning only.? There was no fine – which can run up to $2500 per offense for businesses that are repeat offenders.?
?Hurst said she’d gone out of her way to comply with the Illinois smoking ban which took effect January 1;? even taping off a boundary line 15 feet from the entrance;? making sure the outdoor ashtray is beyond it.?
?”Yeah, I can’t have public health on me.? I have not done anything wrong,” Hurst said.? “And to just get a letter out of the blue !”
?”That’s very unusual because I wouldn’t think nothing like that,” Edwards said, her friend Ruby nodding in agreement.? “She’s got signs on the door.? She’s got it setting outside.? Everybody can read it … you think maybe someone’s out to get her.”
?A health department worker said no one was out to get anybody.? The department just responded to a complaint on the state’s smoking ban hot-line.
?Hurst said she’s the last one who should be getting reprimanded.? Lilly’s went smoke free in 2007.?
?”I went smoke free before the governor said smoke free,” she said.? “Anybody can turn anybody in.? If they have a vendetta against them, they can call that number and turn them in.”
?Indeed, people who file complaints against businesses via the Illinois Department of Public Health toll-free hotline or internet site can choose to have their names withheld from law enforcement and in essence remain anonymous.?
? Warnings can be issued even though complaints are never actually investigated.? However, fines can only be imposed if violators are actually caught in the act and there is evidence to prove it.? Failing that, alleged offenders may face repeated warning letters, but no fines.?