Because the Hi-Way Bar in Hayden is neither a casino, cigar bar nor the smoking lounge at Denver International Airport, Fawna Odom likely will have to ask her patrons not to light up come July 1.
A bill Gov. Bill Owens is expected to sign would outlaw smoking in restaurants and bars throughout the state, with the exception of casinos, cigar bars and the DIA smoker's lounge. Steamboat Springs passed a smoking ban in May 2005 that is more restrictive than the state ban. The state ban likely will not affect Steamboat.
Hayden's Town Board decided against smoking restrictions, but the state ban will take precedence. That means smoking likely no longer will be allowed in the Hi-Way Bar or the Food Mill Restaurant.
"I don't care for this at all," said Odom, who has owned the bar since 1990.
She said she faces "enough controls."
There is a sign on the front door that makes it clear the Hi-Way Bar is a smoking establishment. Odom installed air filters to take care of some of the smoke, but it lingers. A vending machine sells cigarettes, and the cook and the bartender smoke. Bartender Gloria Goulet smokes and has worked at the bar for five years. She said about 80 percent of the people who come to the bar smoke.
"This is a smoking establishment," said Odom, a former smoker. "Those that don't want to smoke don't have to."
Colorado would be the 13th state to ban smoking in some public areas. The possible ban is not as restrictive as some states. Smoking still would be allowed outside bars, on patios or in beer gardens.
For Odom, it will mean she might have to convert her outdoor patio space from the designated nonsmoking section to the smoking section.
"It's not going to hinder me from going out, but because I have to go outside, I am not going to be happy," said Keri Romine, a smoker from Hayden who was eating lunch at the bar Monday. "It should be up to individual restaurant owners, and bars should be exempt."
The bar has been a smoking establishment since it opened, Odom said. It will hurt business, she said, but she thinks the regulars will still come and smoke outside.
"Everyone's going to come in and have their cocktails and socialize," Odom said. "It's the social center of our town."
Goulet said instead of going out, she likely will have friends over at her home to smoke and drink.
State Rep. Al White, R-Winter Park, who represents Routt County, voted against the bill, which the House approved, 38-24, on Friday
"If this is about health, we better be talking about whether tobacco smoking period should be legal," White said. "It's a debate we need to have as opposed to the debate we are having."
White called the bill hypocritical because of the exemptions for cigar bars and casinos.
"If we were concerned about health, why did we exempt the 8,000 casino employees?" White asked.
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