MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Mobile City Council members unanimously pass a smoking ordinance.
Some business owners worry how it will impact their business and who will enforce the ordinance.
John Serda owns Serda's Coffee Company on Royal Street in downtown Mobile.
He said the newly passed ordinance could brew trouble for businesses such as his.
"My concern is if someone is smoking outside, what is going to happen to us? Are we the ones who are going to get fined?" asked Serda.
According to the ordinance, the answer is yes .
City Councilman John Williams said businesses must enforce the ordinance.
For example, if Serda or one of his employees sees someone smoking in a spot that's been banned, it's their responsibility to tell them to put it out.
The sidewalk out front of his coffee shop is one of those places.
"All public places maintained by tax dollars will be nonsmoking. They will be designated nonsmoking by this ordinance," said John Williams, one of the sponsors of the ordinance.
The ordinance reads: "An owner, manager, operator, or employee of an area regulated by this Article shall direct a person who is smoking in violation of this Article to extinguish the product being smoked. If the person does not stop smoking, the owner, manager, operator, or employee shall refuse service and shall immediately ask the person to leave the premises. If the person in violation refuses to leave the premises, the owner, manager, operator, or employee shall contact law enforcement. "
Serda said he doesn't have the staff to patrol the sidewalk outside of his business where people like to sit, sip and sometimes smoke.
He said it leaves him with little choice.
"We don't have the people to come out and patrol. So then what we are going to do? We are going to have to take up our outside seating. So no one is sitting on the patio," said Serda.
During Tuesday's meeting, Serda asked council members to exempt his coffee shop like it did with bars.
Health Office for Mobile County Dr. Bert Eichold said the ordinance isn't perfect but it is a starting point.
"I am pleased it has passed, but there is still some exemptions and certain areas I think are little too restrictive," said Eichold. "Certain areas where people have invested money in their private establishments, and there are opportunities for us to look at it and work together."
Serda hopes so, because right now the burden is a bitter one for business owners.
Smoking is permitted outside of restaurants after 8 p.m. but it must be at least 15 feet from a doorway, and if 15 feet is unachievable, seven feet is required.
The ordinance takes effect October 1, just days before BayFest which could prove to be a challenge enforcing it.
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