The mayor’s proposed ban, which would outlaw smoking in all city bars, clubs, restaurants and pool halls, has outraged bar and restaurant owners throughout the five boroughs. Many have said that such a ban would have a negative effect on business and would also cause serious public order issues.
Heated testimony from supporters and detractors in the first two hearings failed to move the mayor, who has said he will not accept any compromise.
However, it is believed that an amended bill may be presented at the hearing on Friday, although details of what changes have been introduced are not known.
Proposed compromises have included permitting smoking only in bars where no food is served, mandating for extensive new air filtration systems, or introducing a smoking license similar to a liquor license.
Bloomberg has rejected all proposals, asserting that the issue is entirely one of public health and not an economic issue. At the first hearing, he insisted that if patrons are not smoking, they would drink more, an assertion that many bar and restaurant owners said was a measure of the mayor’s misunderstanding of the bar and restaurant business.
Irish bar and restaurant owners have responded by saying till receipts after a smoking ban could fall by as much as 30 percent, and for some, this could mean the closure of their businesses.