Local News in Brief : Restaurant Smoking Ordinance Modified

Responding to complaints about its toughly worded smoking ordinance, the Beverly Hills City Council on Tuesday voted 5 to 0 to give final approval to a revised ordinance allowing smoking in 40% of restaurant dining areas and exempting existing establishments from a requirement that they install ventilation systems.

The original ordinance was one of the toughest smoking laws in the nation. It required air segregation, filtration or ventilation systems for restaurants seating more than 50 people, set aside at least half the dining space as a non-smoking zone and mandated “air curtains” in restaurants without walls separating smoking and non-smoking sections.

The ordinance was modified, however, after restaurant owners said the demands of the old law were cumbersome and expensive. New restaurants will still be required to install the ventilation systems.