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Bellevue passes smoke-free ordinance with unanimous vote

Some think it's common sense, others say it'll kill business
Smoking trial
Posted at 5:07 AM, Feb 09, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-09 18:44:48-05

BELLEVUE, Ky. — Bellevue City Council did a second reading and cast a vote on an ordinance curbing indoor smoking at Wednesday night’s council meeting. The ordinance passed by 5-0 vote, with all members voting to carry the ordinance except for council member Mike Almoslechner, who recused himself from voting due to a conflict of interest.

The first reading, on Jan. 11, included a discussion on the ban, which includes smoking at most indoor places of employment, government and city facilities, short-term rentals and hotels and healthcare facilities.

Private, member-only clubs as well as private residences that are not used as daycare centers or healthcare facilities are exempt from the ordinance. Restaurant and bar patrons are allowed to smoke at designated spaces outside of establishments as long as they maintain a minimum distance of 10 feet from non-smokers.

Loyal Cafe has been in Bellevue for decades and as long as they've been around, customers have been allowed to smoke inside.

One employee, Sheina Cox said all the customers were talking about the newly passed smoking ban Thursday. She doesn't care who smokes or doesn't smoke, but she thinks the new law is a step too far.

"I don't think that you should make a business go that way," she said.

Bellevue Mayor, Charlie Cleves sees things differently.

"It's the right thing to do," he said.

Before the idea was introduced in city council, Cleves talked to the City of Campbellsville, which passed a smoking ban more than a year ago.

"The places that thought they would go out of business are doing better because more family people are going in there," Cleves said.

He thinks the same thing will happen in Bellevue.

Over on Fairfield Ave., The Elusive Cow Cafe replaced a bar that allowed smoking about a decade ago.

"Most people who come in since we reopened, after we took the place over, they were actually really pleased and said that they wouldn't come here because it was a smoking bar," Diane Noll, who owns the cafe with her husband, said.

It's one reason she thinks the ban is a good thing.

"I think most people expect that places are going to be nonsmoking these days," Noll said.

Neighboring Dayton voted to ban smoking at indoor establishments in September of last year.

The Northern Kentucky Department of Health is primarily responsible for enforcing the ban, although police officers can issue citations if necessary. First offenders will be fined $50 with fines increasing for subsequent offenses. Enforcement will begin on May 9, 90 days after the law’s passage.

A full text of the ordinance is available at the city of Bellevue’s website.

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