Another bar ticketed for smoking ban violationby Jessica Mador, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A judge has ruled against another bar owner for violating the statewide smoking ban. Tank's Bar in Babbitt was the first bar in the state to be ticketed for violating the law.
Virginia Judge James Florey ruled that Tank's Bar violated the law when it held theater nights. The Freedom to Breathe Act prohibits smoking in bars and restaurants but allows it for theatrical productions.
Many bars around the state have been calling their bar a theater and their customers "actors" as a way to get around the ban.
Department of Health spokesman John Linc Stine says the agency will continue to pursue actions against bars holding theatre night.
"We are pleased that the health of Minnesota bar patrons and employees will be protected as a result of the judge's decision. It's another step in the process of interpreting the new law and clarifying how the parameters of the law are intended to be applied," Stine said.
Attorney Mark Benjamin says Tank's Bar is no longer holding theatre nights. He says he is working with owner Tom Marinaro to decide whether to appeal the ruling.