By Sarrah Peters
At the Gadsden City Council meeting on January 20, council members once again discussed the smoking ordinance that was passed by the previous council. When it was passed last year, the starting date was set to begin January 1, but the date was pushed back.
At the meeting, a new start date was proposed and passed. The smoking ordinance will go into effect on February 1. The ordinance bans smoking in restaurants, stores and any other business open to the public. It also prohibits smoking within 20 feet of businesses.
The ordinance was the main topic for the Public Safety Committee earlier this month and has been a topic of discussion for the city council for several weeks. Most council members came out in strong support of the ordinance.
Council member Ben Reed, however, expressed some concerns about the impact of the ordinance on the Gadsden Bingo Center, which benifits the Etowah Youth Orchestra.
Council member Deverick Williams rebutted that business may actually improve because of the ordinance. He said that people would not abandon the business simply because they could not smoke, and that the non-smoking policy may attract non-smoking patrons to the facility.
“Our hope and our belief is that this, what we think is a very responsible public safety oriented ordinance, will not have a negative impact on our young people,” said Williams.