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WDAY: The News Leader

Published March 21, 2012, 10:31 PM

Two Valley City bars going smoke free

Valley City, ND (WDAY TV) - Two busy bars in Valley City are making a rare move to go smoke free before being forced by law. Feelings are mixed. While some customers like the ban, employees worry they may soon be out of work.

By: Travis Skonseng, WDAY

Two busy bars in Valley City are making a rare move to go smoke free before being forced by law. Feelings are mixed. While some customers like the ban, employees worry they may soon be out of work. The two watering holes have considered banning smoking for some time, but come April 2nd that will be reality.

Inside the Eagles Club, 13 year employee Darla Hildebrant lights up a cigarette. In 11 days smoking will be no more.

Darla Hildebrant – Smoking Employee: “There are five bartenders out here. There's only one non-smoking bartender so it's going to be a change for all of us.”

Hildebrant worries about bar regulars. About half of all daily customers at the Eagles are smokers.

Darla Hildebrant: “A few of the smoking ones have told me that they will not come out here. They will find another place to go.”

Richard Hass – Eagles Club Manager: “Time will tell.”

The business is one of two in Valley City banning the unhealthy habit. The Labor Club will also go smoke free.

Richard Hass: “It's obviously better for the employees, better for the clientele, easier to keep the place clean. All in all I think it's a really good decision.”

The unexpected change comes after 45 years. While smoking is already not allowed in parts of the club, the bar becomes a hazy place to party.

Archie Moore – Customer: “And I've got friends that won't come here because of the smoke.”

Archie Moore hates the strong smell of smoke and says he may come more often. Still, employees are concerned there will be fewer customers.

Darla Hildebrant: “I'm a single mom raising three kids. I'm a little nervous about the change. If people quit coming out, they're not going to need a waitress. That could also mean my loss of a job.”

Each bar plans to have a smoking area outside. Those plans are still in the works. Employees plan to go on the patch or hope to get long enough breaks to go outside to smoke.

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