The new indoor smoking ban in Wichita Falls has been in effect for less than a week, but already there are some changes being made. In this mornings Wichita Falls City Council meeting, councilors approved a waiver on part of the outdoor smoking regulations of the new ban for the Iron Horse Pub.

NewsTalk 1290 spoke to Daniel Ahern, one of the owners of the Iron Horse. He explained that the pub's newly installed patio was fully authorized by the city, but because of the downtown location of the business and being landlocked on all sides, they ran into an issue with an unused door to a neighboring business. Without the waiver, smokers on half of the patio could have received tickets for violating the ban.

Though the new patio allows for the distance required in the ban from the doors of the Iron Horse, the rear, fire-exit door to the restaurant next door was a few inches too close. 2011 Bistro's main entrance is toward the west, facing Indiana street.They also have two doors on the north side of their building. While one north door is used as an exit, it is almost twice the 20-foot distance away from the Iron Horse's patio as required in the ordinance. The unused, fire-exit door was not, though.

Ahern and others worked with the Health Department to find a solution to the issue and then presented the idea to the city council. The fire-exit door opens to a back room of the restaurant and isn't used as an entrance or for deliveries. Since the door isn't used by customers or as a main entrance to the restaurant, the waiver would make sure the patio was fully in compliance and also make it easier for policing the area and enforcement of the ban.

"We're very glad that the City Council followed the recommendations of the Health Department and that we were able to have a solution that was acceptable for all parties, " Ahern said.

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