Evansville’s smoking ban has officially taken effect, and that means no more lighting up inside Evansville bars, taverns, and private clubs. Many local businesses are calling it a transitional phase and say they expect it will take time for everyone to get used to the change, but they want to make sure they can accommodate as much as possible.
For some bartenders changing over to a smoke-free environment is something they’ve been preparing for since it passed back in February.
“We started right away, actually we just finished yesterday. We went around and got all the ashtrays, and cleaned them and boxed them up,” said Jerry Blake with VFW Post 1114.
For others, they waited to make the change until it was officially April 1st.
“We just took up all the ashtrays at midnight,” said Lamasco’s Bar and Grill bartender, Mallory Cook.
Blake says he expects it will take a month to really get through the transition. He says he’s hung signs around the building, namely in areas where smoking used to be allowed.
“People like to sit outside anyway,” said Cook
Cook says the time of year is helpful for transitioning to smoke-free. She says they have done some work with their outdoor patio, with ash trays and receptacles. She says she thinks the smoking ban will not hurt their business.
“Our customers are a friendly group, it’s like ‘Cheers’, everybody knows your name, so I don’t think it’s going to be an issue,” said Cook.
Blake isn’t so sure. He says he’s already heard about members threatening to leave.
“The bingo players have been pretty dedicated to us, but we’ve had a lot of them say that if we do go smoke free, they’re going to go to Henderson because in Henderson you can smoke,” said Blake.
But he says even though he certainly doesn’t like it, he’s ready to help enforce the law.
The penalty for lighting up inside any of these establishments is an initial fine of $50 with higher fines for additional violations.