South Bend smoking ban to be voted on March 29 after Dyngus Day

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By: Krystal Vivian kvivian@953mnc.com

A public hearing and tentative vote for the proposed smoking ban in South Bend has been scheduled for March 29.

South Bend Common Council member Gavin Ferlic, who introduced the proposal to ban smoking at all workplaces in the city, originally scheduled the debate for March 28, our news partners ABC 57 reported.

But March 28 is Dyngus Day, a busy day for South Bend bars and restaurants — many of whom who strongly oppose the ordinance — so Ferlic agreed to change the date to March 29.

Ferlic did not want the debate and potential vote to be scheduled on April 11 because he is planning on being out of town and wanted to have it voted on as soon as possible, the South Bend Tribune reported.

“We’re looking to stay on a short timeline, because we want a long implementation window if this ordinance does pass,” he said during the meeting. “This is so we have enough time to properly implement the ordinance.”

Bar and restaurant owners who attended the South Bend Common Council meeting on Monday night, March 14, said they were concerned that they would lose revenue if smoking was banned in the city.

“We’re going to lose that revenue, 90 percent of the revenue we get in the morning is from smokers, and night time it’s 75 percent,” Thomas Klempay Sr., president at the American Legion, said, ABC 57 reported.

But supporters of the ordinance say they’re not concerned with business profits — they want to make the air cleaner for all patrons. 

“We’re passionate about saving lives so that’s what you do,” Karl Nichols of Smoke Free St. Joe said. “Just because there is a loss or a perceived loss, you just move forward.”