Somedays you learn too much about laws.
Today I learned more about the Illinois anti-smokers' law than I wanted to know.
I have watched smokers congregated around store entrances on the Woodstock Square, just outside a particular bar that I happen to drive by regularly, and outside one of the PADS overnight shelters.
I was curious about whether Woodstock police officers cited smokers and whether a business could be cited for smokers just outside its entrance.
Here's the scoop:
According to the McHenry County Dept. of Health, a businessowner can be cited for smokers congregating outside his business and smoking within 15' of the entrance on a public sidewalk. The businessowner is to post a sign outside his business or just inside the business, warning smokers of the 15' limit at his door.
Is it fair to subject the businessowner to penalty and expense, just because his customers are outside his business on a public sidewalk and violating a State law? I don't think so!
The Health Dept. rep didn't think that local police departments will enforce smoking law violations; he thought they would merely refer them to the Health Dept. Is this the right decision? Again, I don't think so.
If you report a smoking violation to the State hotline, they forward it to the local health dept., and then an inspector will go by. He might explain the law and issue a warning the first time. After that, he'll cite the smokers and the businessowner. That ought to really thrill the businessowner!
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