The Chicago Tribune reports that three adjoining Illinois towns that recently enacted smoking bans may temporarily repeal them in response to complaints from local bar and restaurant owners who say they are losing business to competitors in more smoke-tolerant jurisdictions:
Bar owners in Oak Forest, Tinley Park and Orland Park complained this week that their business sank as much as 50 percent because the towns banned smoking in public places effective Jan. 2.
"Given the success of the Bears, there should have been a spike in business, especially at sports bars," beer distributor Jerry Michler told Tinley Park board members this week.
So, after just two weeks, the three suburbs may be poised for a smoke break. All three towns have called emergency board meetings for 5 p.m. Friday to reconsider the bans—in plenty of time for the Bears' 2 p.m. Sunday kickoff in the NFC title game against the Saints. The bans would be delayed until March 14, well after the Super Bowl….
"It [allowing smoking during the playoffs] is a big point for our businesses, especially with the Bears involvement, " [Oak Forest Mayor JoAnn] Kelly said.
"Go Bears," the mayor added.
Even if the towns decided to let bar and restaurant owners set the smoking rules on their own property past March 14, a Cook County smoking ban that takes effect the next day would prohibit such magnanimity.
[Thanks to Russ Dewey for the link.]