UPDATE 1:00 p.m. Judy Jablow, chief of staff for Councilmember Nancy Floreen, said Floreen will not introduce the outdoor smoking prohibition bill on Tuesday, as originally scheduled.
Jablow said Floreen still intends to introduce the measure, but it has been pulled off the Council agenda to clarify a few legal questions.
ORIGINAL A typical evening at Caddies on Cordell includes more than a few people smoking in the Bethesda favorite’s outdoor patio space.
A County Council bill that could be introduced soon would put an end to that.
Councilmember Nancy Floreen (D-At large) plans to introduce a bill that would prohibit smoking in outdoor dining areas. Last year, Floreen spearheaded the successful effort to ban smoking on most county-owned outdoor property, including in parks and at bus stops.
But for Bethesda restaurants that rely on the business an outdoor space brings, it could be viewed as a step too far.
“My feeling on it is that enough is enough,” said Tommy Joe’s and Roof owner Alan Pohoryles. “I understand the dangers of secondhand smoke and I also understand that there’s a point where the government and the local government has to stop running everybody’s lives.”
Pohoryles opened Roof (7940 Norfolk Ave.) a few weeks ago. The restaurant includes an enclosed second-floor dining room and a rooftop bar.
“I actually enjoy the fact that you can’t smoke inside bars, but I think outdoor patios are a completely separate issue,” Pohoryles said.
Caddies (4922 Cordell Ave.), Maggie’s (4914 Cordell Ave.), Freddy’s Lobster & Clams (4867 Cordell Ave.) and Flanagan’s Harp & Fiddle (4844 Cordell Ave.) are among the restaurants and bars in Woodmont Triangle that have prominent outdoor eating areas.
Montgomery County was the first county in Maryland to prohibit smoking in bars and restaurants. The law was approved in 1999 before being enacted in 2003.
A 2011 law that prohibited smoking in indoor common spaces, such as hallways or lobbies in privately-owned apartments, met some resistance before being approved.
The outdoor smoking ban passed last year provided exemptions for the county-owned Falls Road golf course in Potomac and county rehab facilities.
Pohoryles said he agreed with the spirit of the original restaurant smoking ban in 2003, though he was concerned with how it would affect the competitiveness of his business with bars in D.C. In 2006, D.C. approved its own prohibition of smoking in bars.
He said he’s again worried a smoking ban might provide a business disadvantage.
“The way the original law was gone about just made it unfair for certain bars and restaurants,” Pohoryles said. “Before we make these blanket rules, maybe there are some alternatives.”