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Published April 06, 2010, 03:19 PM

Bar Owners Talking About Smoking Ban

A day after the city council approved a smoking ban, some bar owners are already worrying about how it will affect their businesses. It's not just the bars, but gaming inside the bars, that could also be affected.

A day after the city council approved a smoking ban, some bar owners are already worrying about how it will affect their businesses.

It's not just the bars, but gaming inside the bars, that could also be affected.

You won't be seeing smoking in Grand Forks bars for too much longer. Places like Joe Blacks aren't looking forward to August 15th when all Grand Forks workplaces will become smoke-free. The owner says initially it may have an impact but in the long run he says lighting up outside will light up more customers inside.

Dennis Blackmun: "I know our lunch business will improve, I know a lot of people go from downtown Grand Forks across the river, because it is non smoking across the river so we hope to attract some of those people too."

Blackmun says about 20-percent of his customers smoke, and they knew the ban was coming. He says some will smoke less, and others may stop smoking. He says he understands the concern, but everyone will get used to it.

Dennis Blackmun: "I do hear the concerns from hardcore bar owners who are set in their ways, they say they're not going to come, they can stay home and smoke, they still want to go out and socialize."

Another concern is what will happen to charitable gaming within the bars. Gaming officials say they expect as much as a 15-percent drop in gaming because of the smoking ban.

Kara Odegaard: "There is a slight recovery predicted over time, and whether all the organizations can withstand that time frame we'll have to see, but we're concerned about our ability to provide services to the charities we serve."

Odegaard says a 15 percent drop could correlate to nonprofit organizations, and that could be the end for some charities.

Karen Odegaard: "It's a vital finding source for non-profits in our city we just need to see what happens."

Bars wont have to make the change until August 15th when the ban becomes a city wide ordinance.

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