Commonwealth Journal

Local News

November 28, 2012

Smoking law enforcement left up to businesses

Somerset —  

City officials are reminding business owners of their responsibility in informing customers and employees about smoking restrictions. 
Somerset City Attorney Carrie Wiese said during Monday’s Somerset City Council meeting that she’d been asked by the Somerset Police Department to let business owners know that they should take steps to tell violators of the city’s smoking ordi-nance about the law before going to police. 
Wiese said people are violating the city ordinance and smoking right in the doorways of local businesses — and the business owners aren’t taking responsibility and informing them of the ordinance.
Instead, they’re going straight to police.
“They (SPD) are getting a lot of phone calls that’s coming through dispatch and they get over there and it’s because the merchant doesn’t want to go out and tell the customer not to stand next to the door,” said Wiese. “It’s taking up a lot of their time.” 
According to the city’s ordinance, which restricts smoking in public places, outdoor smoking is prohibited within 10 feet of entrances, windows and ventilation systems of enclosed areas where smoking is prohibited.
“The only time the police need to be called is if you tell them not to and they still continue to do it or they refuse to leave or they’re disturbing the peace,” Wiese said. 
The ordinance, which was passed by city council in an 11-1 vote in January, is available to the public at Somerset City Hall.
Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler did not attend Monday’s meeting because he was out of town. 
In other news from Monday’s Somerset City Council meeting:
• Councilor Mike New asked that the council recognize the Somerset High School football team for a stellar season. 
“They had a season to be proud of,” New said. 

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