I am a firm believer that the smoking ordinance is a good thing for our little town. It is very nice to walk down the street without getting a face full of cigarette smoke. I understand how places of pubic accommodation should be smoke free, especially in a town composed largely of non-smokers. Despite this, there is a point where a line needs to be drawn.
As many of us know, it is not easy to keep businesses open in our town because of the high overhead and seasonality of our visitors. For business owners, it is a constant struggle to survive, especially for the restaurants that compete fiercely.
I graduated from college with a bachelor's degree in hotel and restaurant management. During my time in school, we studied this topic, and it wasn't hard to come to the decision that although ordinances such as this seem to be a great thing, they potentially can be disastrous for restaurants and bars. In some cases, it has put these establishments out of business.
I guess the main question is, "Who are we, as non-smokers, to put a local business in jeopardy?" As residents of Steamboat Springs, we are supposed to promote the growth of locally owned businesses, not to possibly condemn them. Before this ordinance, I frequently went to bars that didn't allow smoking. It was my choice as a consumer. That is all I am, a consumer. I haven't worked for years as a business owner trying to survive in this dog-eat-dog town.
Why can't this decision be up to the owner of the establishment? It should be his or her decision about whether something like this will be beneficial or detrimental to their business. There were many non-smoking bars and restaurants in this town before the ordinance. As a non-smoker, I say that if you don't like the smoke, go to one of those non-smoking businesses and let's not be responsible for ruining any business that it took someone years to create.
Richard J. Rende