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New Bars Opening May Not Have Smoking Grace Period

A two year grace period will allow bars two more years before they will have to go smoke free, but this does not include bars that will be opening after October 1st.
The vote to extend the effective date for bars to be included in the two year grace period was another of several concessions given to bar owners.

This extension was requested today by the owners of a new bar to be built on Jacksboro Highway called Lonestar that will open in September.

While some bar and restaurant owners in Wichita Falls are still concerned about their businesses past the two year grace period, there are some in favor of being smoke free.

Johnnie Hollis opened her bar, Shady Lady's, in March.

Although she will have the two year grace period to continue to allow smoking inside her bar, she says she feels for bars that may open in Wichita Falls past the October date.

"If that was me I wouldn't open a new business. Honestly. That hurts our community here as Wichita Falls," Hollis says. 

But some new business owners in Wichita Falls feel differently.

"Living and working in Dallas, and seeing Dallas County go non-smoking in restaurants and bars, there was a real concern that it would affect business, but it didn't. In fact it was a better establishment I think," Dan Riley, part owner of The Back Porch Draft House, says. 

The Back Porch Draft House will open next month on Kell West and offer food and craft beers.

Riley says he is choosing to have his business completely smoke free, regardless of the grace period.

"The idea of smoke being around children in a family restaurant I don't think is really good for our business so, no smoking in this establishment," Riley says. 

While Hollis is taking advantage of this two year grace period, she is planning on opening up a patio because she believes that this is all that will save her business.

"Some of my concern is losing some of our patrons that do smoke. You know a lot of them are smokers and they don't want to go to a bar that is non-smoking. And that's over half of our people that come in," Hollis says. 

Again, businesses that are already open or will open before October 1st will have the two year grace period to allow smoking inside the business.
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