HAYWARD — Don't like secondhand smoke?

Neither does the Hayward City Council.

On Tuesday, by a 5-to-2 vote, council members initially approved a sweeping smoking ban in outdoor areas as well as many indoor locations.

Customers and employees of restaurants, bars and other businesses, who now step outside to smoke, may find themselves without any place to go.

The new law, up for council adoption at 8 p.m. June 3, mandates a 20-foot buffer between smokers and building doors, windows or entryways.

This change will extinguish nicotine use outside The Bistro at B and Main streets in downtown Hayward. Patrons currently can lounge at tables and chairs on the sidewalk, just a few feet from the Bistro's entry, to enjoy food, music, wine and beer along with cigarettes and cigars.

Bistro owner Vic Kralj was surprisingly cheerful Wednesday about giving the boot to tobacco.

"It might hurt business at the beginning, but people will adjust to it," Kralj said. "I will put up signs telling people there will be penalties for me and for them if (smoking is) done."

Besides, smelling an $18 glass of Belgian-style beer is one-third of the overall enjoyment, he added. Smoke creates its own odor and masks the fragrance of the beer.

Millie Saad, an assistant to Hayward City Manager Gregory Jones, said four-dozen notices were mailed to business operators and other interested parties in town.

None showed up, although two members of the "Keep Hayward Clean and Green" task force testified in support of the new law.


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Downtown businessman Lloyd Clifton, a task force member, said outdoor smokers leave cigarette butts in landscaping and force nonsmokers to cross the street to avoid smoke.

Snuffing out smoking in town also will apply to the interior of buses, taxicabs and other types of public transit. Bus shelters and other transit waiting areas, such as BART stations, also are included in the new restrictions.

The city will have to install "no smoking" signs on public property. It also will have to adopt fines for business operators and customers who violate the law.

Cracking down on scofflaws is another issue. Saad said municipal employees — other than police officers — may enforce the law.

Since 1998, the state has restricted smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke in a variety of public and private areas, such as restaurants and bars. Local governments can adopt and enforce additional smoking and tobacco restriction policies.

In the Bay Area, Oakland doesn't permit smoking 25 feet from any building window, opening or vent. Belmont has banned smoking in parks and other public places, as well as inside apartments and condominiums.

Other cities with smoking prohibitions include Berkeley, Dublin, Fremont, Livermore, Newark, Pleasanton, San Jose and San Ramon.

The Hayward Area Recreation and Park District forbids smoking and leaving butts or other tobacco debris within 15 feet of its buildings, facilities, trails or nature areas, and within 25 feet of play structures. The Hayward Unified School District has a tobacco-free schools policy, and doesn't allow tobacco products on district property or in district vehicles.

Councilmembers Kevin Dowling and Bill Ward voted no on Tuesday, with Dowling voicing concern about notification in the business community.

Reach Karen Holzmeister at 510-293-2478 or kholzmeister@bayareanewsgroup.com.

Where smoking is banned
Any and all public places in Hayward
Elevators and restrooms
Service lines
Public event sites
Retail stores
Enclosed common areas of hotels and motels, and 35 percent of rented rooms
Enclosed and unenclosed areas of restaurants, dining areas and bars
Performance and exhibit areas
Public meeting places
Sports arenas and recreation areas