A colorful plan to alert prospective patrons to the air quality inside restaurants comes before the Spokane City Council tonight.
If passed, the law would force restaurant owners to use a warning system based on traffic-light colors.
A green sign posted on a door would mean the restaurant is smoke-free. A yellow sign would mean smoking is allowed in some sections. A red sign would mean smoking is allowed everywhere.
The proposed ordinance was drafted for the Spokane County Health Board by a panel of community and restaurant representatives. The board is asking the county and its 16 cities and towns to adopt it.
The board’s traffic-light proposal is a watered-down version of last year’s push to ban all smoking in restaurants.
At least two council members and Acting City Manager Bill Pupo aren’t sold on the red-light, green-light idea.
“There’ll be violations and enforcements,” said Councilman Jeff Colliton. “This is going way beyond what we need to be doing.”
“There’s a question from the city management standpoint about enforcing it,” Pupo said.
Councilwoman and Health Board member Roberta Greene raised several concerns about the plan when it was proposed. She called the signs “biased,” pointing out that while the green signs signal a smoke-free restaurant and say “welcome,” the red signs say “warning.”
Restaurant owners and managers gave the plan a mixed review. Some said the warning system was OK because it lets patrons choose. Others said it was too much government interference.
, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: COUNCIL MEETING A briefing for the council starts at 3:30 p.m. in the lower-level conference room at City Hall, 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. in council chambers. Also today, the council will: Consider annexing 135 acres at Government Way and Fort George Wright Drive in west Spokane. Consider a $20,431 contract with general contractor Robert B. Goebel to repair Upriver Dam, which was damaged by drift when the Spokane River rose last spring.