ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — The list of businesses where people can smoke indoors in Round Rock will not shrink, after all city council members other than the mayor voted down an ordinance that would have expanded an indoor smoking ban to bars.
The Round Rock City Council voted Thursday night on the question of taking “designated smoking bars” off the list of places that still allow smoking. If the change to the ordinance would have been approved, a city spokesman said it would affect eight businesses in town. The mayor says the current ordinance already bans smoking indoors at 80 percent of businesses.
The affected bars would be:
- Big Shotz
- Fast Eddie’s Round Rock
- Rick’s Cabaret
- Roadhouse Bar & Grill
- Skinny Bob’s Billiards & Sports Bars
- Cactus Nights
Colleen Johnson, who owns Pardners, said she opposes the ordinance change because it would hurt her business. She said her bar already made costly improvements in 2002 when the city required her to install air filtration systems to help clear out the smoke, and now her business would potentially have to change again.
“If it were going to change smokers, that would be one thing,” Johnson said about the ordinance. “A smoker is going to be a smoker. It’s not going to change that. All it’s going to do is take my business away and force me to have to rebuild again.”
The local American Heart Association chapter and a group called Smoke Free Round Rock, however, support the measure. Their members have been pushing the city to discontinue the exemption for these bars and create a comprehensive smoking ban, which they said would cut down the harmful effects of secondhand smoke.
“If we’re looking at making at an investment from a business point of view, from a community point of view, let’s make it happen. Let’s make it work,” Andy Martinez with Smoke Free Round Rock said. “I think we’ll see a positive effect on the community as a whole.”