Bars, Smoking, and St. Patrick’s Day
We already know that St. Patrick’s Day in general has caused quite a commotion in Hoboken. The rambunctious drunks and unruly partying that ensues every year has been a growing source of controversy.
But here’s a problem that bar owners and patrons alike will encounter for the first time since the smoking ban went into effect on April 15th last year: How to deal with the smokers?
With most bars having long lines to gain entrance on that day, how will they keep track of smokers and occupancy limits?
- Make them wait on line each time they go out? (will never work)
- Wrist bands? (run the risk of people sharing them)
- Let them smoke in a bar once a year? (never gonna happen)
- Lines to go out and smoke? Like “one at a time”? (asinine)
- “Look the other way” if some patrons decide to light up in the bathroom? (will probably happen)
One thing that I came up with, and it may sound convoluted, is a time-stamp system. Print a stack of paper out with the bar’s logo on it. Install a time-stamp machine by the door. Each time someone goes out to smoke, you give them a slip, stamp it, and say they have 5 or 10 minutes to get back in. Otherwise you have to wait back on line. Too bad.
However, one of the issues with this idea is that if someone decides to leave after getting their slip, the bouncers will not be able to accurately track the occupancy limits. One alternative is to have a combination system, with wrist-bands (or ID) AND time slips. When you go outside to smoke, you trade your wrist band (or ID) in for the time-card. This way they bouncers will have a way to keep track of how many people went out, and how many never came back. But you don’t want the bouncers “thinking too much” on a day where they’re supposed to be on high-alert.
I suppose one of the simplest way to control this is to have a separate area cordoned-off for the smokers to gather. But you’d have to make it in a way that prevents people from sneaking in. Who knows.
I’m not sure what plans bars have this year to deal with this situation, but I can only imagine that there will be various disturbances around town if they don’t come up with a reasonable way to handle the crowds.