A new ban on smoking near publicly accessible buildings and outdoor dining areas goes into effect Tuesday, May 15, which means a $50 citation for those caught violating the new law.
Under the new law smokers cannot stand within 25 feet of windows, doors -- even cracks and vents in the walls of workplaces, restaurants or any publicly accessible building where smoking is already banned.
Smoking is now largely banned in busy commercial areas like Castro Street though an exception is given to smokers who "are actively passing from one destination to another," said Kim Castro of the city's community services department.
The City Council voted 4-3 in support of the ban on Jan. 24 and in a second vote on Feb. 14. with members Tom Means, John Inks and Laura Macias opposed.
The Council also banned smoking within 25 feet of outdoor dining areas, including those at restaurants and picnic areas in public parks, where smoking is already banned within 30 feet of a playground.
Business owners are responsible for educating employees about the ban, said police spokeswoman Liz Wylie. Businesses face fines for ignoring the ban, but there has to be proof that a business "knew, or reasonably should have known" of violations, Wylie said. Deputy City Attorney Nicole Clemens said business owners would likely receive infractions, with a fine of $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second offense within one year and $500 for each additional offense within one year. Business owners could also face misdemeanor charges in severe cases.
Bars and night clubs fiercely opposed the ban, saying it would drive customers away and encourage smokers to gather in nearby parking lots and alleys instead of designated outdoor patios.
The creation of the ordinance was funded with a $53,788 grant from Santa Clara County to reduce exposure to second-hand smoke.
No smoking signs are available from the city for businesses. More information can be found at mountainview.gov under announcements.