Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 15.2. Counties, Cities and Towns
Chapter 28.2. Virginia Indoor Clean Air Act

§ 15.2-2825. Smoking in restaurants prohibited; exceptions; posting of signs; penalty for violation.

A. Effective December 1, 2009, smoking shall be prohibited and no person shall smoke in any restaurant in the Commonwealth or in any restroom within such restaurant, except that smoking may be permitted in:

1. Any place or operation that prepares or stores food for distribution to persons of the same business operation or of a related business operation for service to the public. Examples of such places or operations include the preparation or storage of food for catering services, pushcart operations, hotdog stands, and other mobile points of service;

2. Any outdoor area of a restaurant, with or without roof covering, at such times when such outdoor area is not enclosed in whole or in part by any screened walls, roll-up doors, windows or other seasonal or temporary enclosures;

3. Any restaurants located on the premises of any manufacturer of tobacco products;

4. Any portion of a restaurant that is used exclusively for private functions, provided such functions are limited to those portions of the restaurant that meet the requirements of subdivision 5;

5. Any portion of a restaurant that is constructed in such a manner that the area where smoking may be permitted is (i) structurally separated from the portion of the restaurant in which smoking is prohibited and to which ingress and egress is through a door and (ii) separately vented to prevent the recirculation of air from such area to the area of the restaurant where smoking is prohibited. At least one public entrance to the restaurant shall be into an area of the restaurant where smoking is prohibited. For the purposes of the preceding sentence, nothing shall be construed to require the creation of an additional public entrance in cases where the only public entrance to a restaurant in existence as of December 1, 2009, is through an outdoor area described in subdivision 2;

6. Any private club; and

7. Any portion of a facility licensed to conduct casino gaming pursuant to Chapter 41 (§ 58.1-4100 et seq.) of Title 58.1 designated pursuant to the provisions of and that meets the requirements of § 15.2-2827. Any restaurant within a facility licensed to conduct casino gaming shall comply with the provisions of this section.

B. For the purposes of this section:

"Proprietor" means the owner, lessee or other person who ultimately controls the activities within the restaurant. The term "proprietor" includes corporations, associations, or partnerships as well as individuals.

"Structurally separated" means a stud wall covered with drywall or other building material or other like barrier, which, when completed, extends from the floor to the ceiling, resulting in a physically separated room. Such wall or barrier may include portions that are glass or other gas-impervious building material.

C. No individual who is wait staff or bus staff in a restaurant shall be required by the proprietor to work in any area of the restaurant where smoking may be permitted without the consent of such individual. Nothing in this subsection shall be interpreted to create a cause of action against such proprietor.

D. The proprietor of any restaurant shall:

1. Post signs stating "No Smoking" or containing the international "No Smoking" symbol, consisting of a pictorial representation of a burning cigarette enclosed in a red circle with a bar across it, clearly and conspicuously in every restaurant where smoking is prohibited in accordance with this section; and

2. Remove all ashtrays and other smoking paraphernalia from any area in the restaurant where smoking is prohibited in accordance with this section.

E. Any proprietor of a restaurant who fails to comply with the requirements of this section shall be subject to the civil penalty of not more than $25.

F. No person shall smoke in any area of a restaurant in which smoking is prohibited as provided in this section. Any person who continues to smoke in such area after having been asked to refrain from smoking shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $25.

G. It shall be an affirmative defense to a complaint brought against a proprietor for a violation of this section that the proprietor or an employee of such proprietor:

1. Posted a "No Smoking" sign as required;

2. Removed all ashtrays and other smoking paraphernalia from all areas where smoking is prohibited;

3. Refused to seat or serve any individual who was smoking in a prohibited area; and

4. If the individual continued to smoke after an initial warning, asked the individual to leave the establishment.

H. Civil penalties assessed under this section shall be paid into the Virginia Health Care Fund established under § 32.1-366.

I. Any local health department or its designee shall, while inspecting a restaurant as otherwise required by law, inspect for compliance with this section.

2009, cc. 153, 154; 2020, cc. 1197, 1248.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.