By a slightly larger margin than expected.
The City Council on Thursday approved a fortified smoke-free ordinance aimed at protecting public health, despite pleas from frustrated bar and restaurant owners who said that the ban would hurt their business.
The new ordinance, which will qualify San Antonio as a smoke-free city under criteria set by Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, closes exemptions that have allowed smoking in bars, pool and bingo halls, comedy clubs and restaurants with enclosed smoking areas.
The new rules, which will take effect Aug. 19, 2011, replace a policy riddled with exemptions and perceived as being watered-down.
Mayor Julián Castro, an early and strong supporter of the measure, noted that San Antonio is excelling in the biomedical and health care industries, moving its economy into some of the “most important economic sectors of the 21st century.”
“It’s ironic then, today, when we pass this ordinance, San Antonio will be bringing up the rear — becoming the last major Texas city to adopt this kind of ordinance,” he said.
So there you have it. We’ll see if this has any effect on efforts to pass a statewide ban, as that would address the complaints about bars and restaurants in unincorporated areas near big cities having an advantage by not being subject to the same restrictions.