Minnesota Department of Health says 'theatre nights' in bars are not exempt from Freedom to Breathe Act

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The flag of Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has said that bars do not become exempt from to Freedom to Breathe Act by holding ‘theatre nights.’ The act, which is designed to ban smoking in bars, excludes actors in theatrical performances. The MDH has, however, said that "theatre nights being held in bars do not fall within the theatrical production exemption of the Freedom to Breathe Act."

The press release by the MDM said that "in reviewing the law, MDH has determined that it has the authority to address theater nights and take enforcement action if the activity is an attempt to allow smoking in violation of the act." It continued by saying that "the Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Sanne Magnan said MDH will work together with local health agencies to bring establishments into compliance if they violate the law."

The theatre nights sometimes involve bars calling the visitors to the bars "cast" with the entrance becoming a "stage entrance:" or something similar. The Minnesota Commissioner of Health commented on these actions by saying that "The law was enacted to protect Minnesotans from the serious health effects of secondhand smoke," and that "We [the MDH] expect all establishments to comply with the law. It is time for the curtain to fall on these theatrics so that employees, and all Minnesotans, are protected from secondhand smoke."