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Posted on: May 23, 2017

Rockville Bans Smoking and Vaping in Outdoor Serving Areas

[This press release has been corrected from an earlier version. See the bolded text below.]

Violation Could Lead to Municipal Infraction

Rockville, Maryland, May 23 — Patrons of Rockville's bars and restaurants will no longer be able to smoke in outdoor serving areas in the city, following a vote on a prohibition by the Mayor and Council at their Monday, May 22 meeting.

Under the ordinance, owners, managers or employees of restaurants and bars cannot knowingly allow smoking or vaping on patios, decks, porches or at other outdoor seating or serving areas. Also, according to the ordinance, owners, managers and employees must:
  • Refuse to wait upon, serve, seat or accommodate any person who is smoking or vaping where smoking and vaping are prohibited in an outdoor serving area.
  • Request that the person smoking or vaping cease that activity.
  • Request the person to leave the building or area if the person continues to smoke or vape in an outdoor serving area after the person has been asked to refrain.

Enforcement of the smoking/vaping ban will be conducted by the City of Rockville Police Department. Specific fines for violating the ban will be set at a future Mayor and Council meeting.Currently, the fine is $1,000 per violation, which is the maximum allowed by state law.

Food service facilities will be required to post conspicuous signs announcing the vaping/smoking prohibition.

In October 2015, the Mayor and Council voted unanimously to follow Montgomery County code, allowing a countywide ban on smoking and vaping to apply to city property, including city parks, community centers, Redgate Golf Course and all city facilities.

According to the American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation, 392 municipalities in the U.S. prevent smoking in the outdoor serving areas of restaurants; 233 of those also have smoke-free outdoor bar-patio laws. With passage of the ordinance, Rockville and La Plata become the only jurisdictions in Maryland to have banned smoking and vaping in serving areas outdoors.
Information about the ban can be found at www.rockvillemd.gov/agenda, by clicking on the May 22 Mayor and Council meeting.
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