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Smoke will stay outside at Bonney Lake Tavern

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Health Board vows to fight decision to lift smoking ban

Dennis Box

The Courier-Herald

The Washington state Court of Appeals handed down a 2-1 decision Thursday, halting the Tacoma/Pierce County Health Department's smoking ban.

The ban affected bars, restaurants, bingo halls, bowling alleys, casinos and private clubs.

The court's decision stopped the Health Department from enforcing the controversial resolution, which was passed Dec. 3 by a unanimous vote of the Board of Health.

Director of Health Frederico Cruz-Uribe has vowed to appeal the case to the state Supreme Court.

Although many bar and restaurant owners celebrated the decision, Bonney Lake Tavern (BLT) owner Gary Woffard noted his business has seen improvement since the ban.

"I have great food here," Woffard said. "The ban has improved it for people eating inside."

Woffard stated he intends to continue as a no-smoking establishment for now.

"I'm going to look at it again," Woffard said. "But for right now I'm going to stay non-smoking."

People often come to the BLT for the food and the drink. On Friday afternoon there were several customers who had traveled from out of the area to eat fried chicken, steak and other entrees offered along with the beer.

"We came up from Puyallup," Bruce Ross said. His wife Sally sat next to him sharing a basket of fried chicken. "We come here on Fridays to eat quite often."

According to Woffard his breakfast and brunch business is stronger since the ban went into effect.

"We serve a lot of breakfast and brunch here on the weekends. During the NFL season we will serve 60 to 80 brunches in three hours." Woffard said. "But I'm sure some people were hurt by the ban."

At the BLT Woffard noted his patrons who smoked didn't complain about going outside.

"With their attitudes I decided I would put heaters out on the patio and I'm fixing it up for the smokers," Woffard said. "They've been great about not smoking."

Dennis Box can be reached at dbox@courierherald.com

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