Businesses ready for smoke-free ordinance in North Myrtle Beach

Published: Mar. 7, 2012 at 3:12 AM EST|Updated: Apr. 30, 2012 at 1:10 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The City of North Myrtle Beach is clearing the air - literally - as it gets ready to impose a new ordinance that would prevent you from lighting up in a public place.

In February, city council members voted 3-3 on the non-smoking ordinance that would effect smoking in businesses like bars, restaurants, city buildings, hotels and bingo parlors. Mayor Marilyn Hatley cast the deciding vote that gave a final stamp of approval to the measure.

Several businesses said on Tuesday they're happy they made the switch to smoke-free long before the ordinance was even considered. Other restaurants like the Plantation Pancake House will start enforcing the new ordinance on Wednesday.

"They're definitely happy we're looking to set them up a place that's comfortable outside where they can sit," she explained. "And they understand that it is not our decision alone - that it is a law that's been put into effect."

While some customers say they understand the need for the ordinance but don't necessarily agree with it, Plantation Pancake House manager Kristian Marsh says her restaurant will continue to accompany smokers -- just outside on a patio area. She believes the new ordinance will save her business big bucks on cleaning carpets, upholstery and air filters every month.

"We're hiring professional people to come in and clean the carpeting and clean the upholstery and changing all the air filters," she explained.

It's maintenance she says can cost upwards of $200-$250 a month to do.

"It's very dusty like the filter on a cigarette or an X-ray of someone that smokes," she said, when asked to describe what an air filter looks like in a restaurant with smoking. "There's a lot of tar, nicotine and black."

But Joey Todd of Atlantic Heating and Cooling says those maintenance costs are relatively cheap. He says replacing air filters every month for a year can cost upwards of $2,000 to $2,500.

"When we go in to like a bingo parlor, we'll install several smoke eaters and the cost can go up to $15,000-$20,000," he admitted.

Marsh says the new ordinance could have her opening up her wallet less to make sure her customers are breathing easy. The restaurant will continue to cater to its smoking customers, despite the new ordinance, with a new outside smoking table.

"I think this will probably save us some money being non-smoking because just air freshener alone - we go through quite a bit," she laughed. "It adds up, it adds up."

Copyright 2012. WMBF News. All Rights Reserved.