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March 8, 2004

Oswego County Board of Health Approves Four Indoor Smoking Waivers

The Oswego County Board of Health approved waivers to the clean indoor air act for four businesses Friday, March 5. The board followed the county health department's staff recommendations to approve waivers for Buoy's Dockside in Brewerton, Route 29 Entertainment in Scriba, the Sting Restaurant in Oswego, and Trackside Pub in Hastings.

Each of the establishments had to demonstrate proof of financial hardship and show that they had an acceptable plan to minimize involuntary exposure to secondhand smoke for employees and patrons.

According to the state health department, proof of financial hardship is defined as a 15 percent loss of sales tax revenue since the indoor smoking ban took effect last summer. The law also allows businesses to claim a loss due to unrecoverable capital expenditures made to improve air quality before the law took effect, such as installing a new ventilation system. The board denied applications for five businesses because they didn't meet the criteria.

"It's important to keep in mind that we're going by the state's guidance," Christa Carrington, Assistant County Attorney, told board members and people in the audience. Carrington said the county health department has been following procedures suggested by the state. "The county could have adopted more stringent standards but chose not to. If the law changes, the county will change enforcement along with it," said Carrington.

Businesess that applied but didn't meet the criteria were Boog's Tavern in Hannibal, Fulton Ale House, Fulton; Holiday Corners, Sandy Creek; Hotel Martin, Sandy Creek; and Schneider's Lil Salmon Inn, Mexico.

Attending the meeting of the board of health were chairman Frank Church, Mame Hastings, Ellen Holst, Ralph D'Amico, Dr. Lewis Watson, Dr. Robert Schaefer, and Joseph "Smoky" Osetek.

At the end of the meeting, members of the American Lung Association and Oswego County Tobacco-Free Network spoke about the dangers of secondhand smoke.

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