SAVANNAH, GA (January 4, 2011): Business operators, and not Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police, will be the primary enforcers of the City of Savannah’s new Smokefree Air Ordinance.

SCMPD Police Chief Willie Lovett said his officers will enforce the law by issuing citations when patrons of businesses refuse to comply with the ordinance, but they will not be patrolling restaurants and bars in search of violators.

“We will issue citations when the business owners alert us that patrons are refusing to abide by the ordinance, but we do not have the manpower to seek out these violations,” Lovett said.

The ordinance was passed by the Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Savannah in 2010 and it took effect Jan.1, 2011. It expands the Georgia Smokefree Air Act to require all public places and workplaces in Savannah to be smoke free. Some restaurants and bars are allowed to provide outdoor smoking areas a reasonable distance from other patrons. The ordinance requires business owners to ask violators to stop smoking, go outside or pay up and leave. If they refuse to do any of those owners are expected to call police.

Violators can be fined up to $100 and businesses that allow the violation can be fined $100 for the first violation, $200 for the second and $500 for each subsequent violation in a year. Permits and licenses of businesses that are habitual violators can be suspended or revoked.

“We will support the efforts of the Mayor and Council to address this issue and we stand ready when called upon,” said Chief Lovett.

# # #