This past week the South Carolina State Supreme Court upheld the City of Greenville’s ordinance banning smoking in restaurants and other public establishments within the city limits. While I’m delighted that the ban has been upheld, I got to see another side of it first hand this morning.
I tried to go out for breakfast at least once during Spring Break, and today was my last opportunity. I decided upon Gene’s Restaurant, because they have good, cheap breakfasts. Normally, I would hold my nose and walk through the smoking section in front to the non-smoking section in the back. Laura doesn’t like coming here for that very reason – she doesn’t like walking through the smoke.
Today, however, things were different. There was a big sign on the door that said “Gene’s is now Smoke Free.” I walked in and no bluish haze wafted toward me. I decided to sit in the front section.
It was obvious from the conversations around me that not everyone was happy about this. A lady behind the bar with big blond hair and a leopard-skin print sweater complained about government intrusion, then stepped outside to light up. Several regulars at the counter had similar comments. A young woman finished her breakfast and stepped up to the register to pay. As she did so, she said, “All I wanted to do was come into Gene’s, have a cigarette, and eat breakfast. I can’t do that no more.”
As for me, I was happy to not have the odor clinging to me as I left.