LIHU’E – The Kauai County Council is expected to vote next week on a tough restaurant smoking ban.
If approved, the bill would be the most restrictive in the state, with tougher provisions than in the ordinances passed earlier this year on Oahu and Maui. The Big Island is still considering a restaurant smoking ban.
The proposal was made even more restrictive during a committee meeting Thursday night. The committee removed an exemption for small, family owned restaurants in which all the employees are family members.
The bill prohibits smoking at any restaurant whether indoors or outdoors. However, smoking would be permitted at combination bars and restaurants during hours when meals are not served.
Several restaurant owners and employees protested the bill Thursday night and complained about not having adequate notice that a bill was pending.
Councilman Jimmy Tokioka, who is a restaurant owner and the bill’s author, said the measure has been in the works since November.
He said the Council sponsored a workshop to discuss the measure informally, and only one restaurant owner showed up. The Council also sent a survey to restaurant owners almost a year ago and received only a few responses, he said.
The bill appears to have the four votes needed for approval by the full Council. The three committee members present at the Thursday night hearing voted for it.