By Dick Berry - email
Posted by Dave Dykema - email
ADRIAN, MI (WTOL) - A blatant act of civil disobedience is planned on New Year's Eve in Michigan. Bars and restaurants are being urged to ignore the state's ban on smoking in public places and allow customers to light up.
This protest is being organized by a Bloomfield Hills group called Protect Privacy Rights in Michigan.
They believe you should run your business the way you see fit without government intrusion.
The group claims 350 bars and restaurants have already agreed to break the law.
Since Michigan's smoking ban went into effect May 1, business at Club 109 in Adrian, MI has taken a hit.
"We don't sell as much as we used to. Our food slowed down, liquor slowed down during the day. Most of it just stopped," Marcie Emerson of Club 109 said.
Smokers complain they have to go outside for a butt. They support the New Year's Eve protest.
"I've smoked forever. I know it's not politically correct. I think everybody should go ahead and smoke," said one.
"When you drink, smoking and drinking go hand in hand. A combination. I think they should go ahead and do it," another added.
So what's going to happen at Club 109 on New Year's Eve?
"I think the people have to stand up for their rights. And if they want to smoke in public facilities, they have to do what they have to do," Emerson said.
At J. R.'s Hometown Pub and Grill non-smoking has always been good for business.
"I think it's something people have wanted for a long time. I think they felt they deserved it and the non-smokers wanted it and I think it's good for the community," Jennifer Steele said.
And customers here believe the New Year's Eve protest is bad for the community.
"I would disagree with it. I appreciate the fact there's no smoking in public bars and restaurants," said one woman.
"Being a former smoker, I'm more sensitive to the smoke issue," a man said.
Michigan health officials say they do not plan to monitor the protest but will investigate complaints.
Bars violating the smoking ban risk a $100 fine for the first offense and $500 for subsequent violations.
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