ST. LOUIS–(KMOX)–City Hall and the Missouri Athletic Club are working on a compromise to allow some limited smoking at the private club — to settle a dispute over the city’s indoor smoking ban.
The MAC was ticketed for violating the ban, after it was discovered people were smoking in the employee lounge. Since then, MAC lawyers have been arguing that the city ordinance does not apply to a private club.
Under the deal-in-the-works, there would be no smoking in the MAC employee lounge. Smoking would be allowed at the entrance alcove, the Jack Buck bar, some private rooms on the third floor around the lunchroom — and at special events including election night and boxing night.
The MAC would also agree employees not wanting to work in a smoking area could work elsewhere in the downtown building, or be transferred to the MAC’S smoke-free facility in the county.
“I support a one-hundred percent smoking ban,” said City Health Director Pam Walker, “If it were up to me, nobody would smoke, period. Not publicly, not privately, not light up a cigarette. But that’s not what the ordinance gave me.”
Walker says she is open to the compromise to avoid a court fight that might overturn the city’s smoking ban ordinance, resulting in more smoking at public places.
Currently, Walker says of the city’s 1,249 eating establishments covered by the ban, 701 sell liquor by the drink and could ask for an exemption. So far, only 131 have been exempted.
The MAC compromise, if approved, would come in the form of an order from the health commissioner, so that if there is a future violation there would be an enforcement mechanism.