Sheffield businesses say they are struggling in the wake of smoking ban

SHEFFIELD, Ala. – Two months after the city of Sheffield introduced a smoking ban – there are some hard numbers of what it’s doing to businesses. Mayor Ian Sanford says its time for council members to listen to what business owners have to say.

Thursday’s weather kind of sets the mood in Sheffield – dreary. Since the city council enacted a smoking ban in public places, including restaurants, there are some hurt feelings among business owners. Mayor Sanford voted against the anti-smoking ordinance.

“When you pass an ordinance that affects businesses or whatever, you need to kind of be able to do the probability thing,” Sanford explained. “If we do this, what’s the possibility of this happening.”

Business owners through-out the city say they are now struggling. One of the businesses feeling the ban the most is 2nd and 13, a sports bar in downtown. Owner Scott Whittle says comparing revenues from November 2017 with no ban to November 2018 with the ban, business is down more than 35%.

An alarming number for a city who is so heavily dependent on tax revenues to operate.

“As I have said in a council meeting, I think in my 18-years there, I think revenue is the #1 thing” stated Sanford. “You need to keep focused on that. It is alarming.”

Mayor Sanford is planning a meeting for January 14th with business owners, and the council is invited to attend. He says it’s long overdue and should have been done before the council banned smoking. He hopes they can figure out how the city and businesses can move forward. Mayor Sanford says he would also like to hear from private clubs who were also forced to ban smoking as part of the ordinance.

The city treasurer is still compiling tax revenue collection numbers for comparison.