Gay Bars to be Affected by Atlanta Smoking Ban

The City of Atlanta has passed an ordinance that bans smoking and vaping in public spaces, affecting several gay bars, according to the AJC.

The legislation, drafted by councilperson Matt Westmoreland, expands on existing smoke-free laws to maintain “the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the City of Atlanta and its visitors.”

“Everyone in Atlanta has the right to breathe smoke-free air,” said Westmoreland.

Passed 13-2, the ordinance prohibits smoking and vaping in bars, restaurants, workplaces, hotel and motel rooms, and other enclosed public areas, including Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, beginning January 2, 2020.

Some exemptions exist, including private residences, tobacco and vape stores, private clubs and cigar bars, and other establishments where minors are banned and at least 20 percent or $250,000 of the annual gross revenue generated is from tobacco product sales.

An amendment to exclude adult entertainment establishments was proposed by councilperson Marci Collier Overstreet but failed. This means that places like Swinging Richards, which currently allows indoor smoking, will have to abide by the ban.

“I’m okay with it because I think it’s healthier not to have smoking indoors for people that don’t smoke,” Swinging Richards owner C.B. Jones told Project Q Atlanta. Swinging Richards reportedly plans to open an outdoor patio to accommodate smoking patrons.

Other gay bars and establishments expected to be affected by the ban include BJ Roosters and the Heretic.

If businesses fail to comply with the ban, they will be fined $100 for the first violation and $200 for each additional violation within a year.