NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - We're less than two weeks away from New Orleans going smoke-free, but some businesses made a last minute fight to ask the City Council to reconsider.
The council passed a ban on smoking in bars, casinos and hotel rooms. It will go into effect April 22.
Jade Russell, a representative for Harrah's Casino, asked council members to give that ban a second thought. "We're asking respectfully for more time to understand one, how the city is going to enforce this, and two, how we can protect our players, our patrons, as well as our trusted employees," Russell said.
But, the council upheld that Harrah's would have to abide by the new smoke free ordinance and do so by that April 22 deadline.
"This city will continue to be supportive of Harrah's Casino in every way possible, but it has to be as it relates to a safe work environment for all people who deserve it," said New Orleans city council member, Latoya Cantrell.
The Director of the New Orleans Health Department said they have been in touch with the 13,000 businesses in the city that will soon have to go smoke free to let them know how they can comply with the new ban. As for customers, they will soon be able to report businesses who still allow smoking online and by phone.
"If we get a second complaint then we will physically make a paid visit to that business and really look at what's going on," said New Orleans Health Department Director, Charlotte Parent.
The health department director added that it will take a little more time to understand what the repercussions will be for those who violate the ban.
The city is still working on enforcement regulations and will hold a public hearing on the matter soon. They haven't announced when that hearing will be.