With smoking in bars set to be banned when the clock hits midnight, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's office has set up a series of events to commemorate the day Virginia went smoke-free.
Kaine will tour a series of bars and restaurants in Charlottesville, Alexandria and Richmond to celebrate the fact that non-smokers can eat and drink without a side order of secondhand smoke. Kaine's office says the governor wants to encourage Virginians to support their local smoke-free eateries.
Kaine starts his day at Hamilton's At First and Main in Charlottesville at 11 a.m., then his Chadwick's in Alexandria at 2 p.m. and end his mid-afternoon pub crawl at the Home Team Grill in Richmond at 4 p.m.
So far there has been some grumbling from bar regulars and bar workers concerned about the new rules. Regulars are wondering if the experience will be the same if they have to walk outside to smoke between sips. While waiters and bartenders who rely on consistent customers wonder whether new rules will drive away business and income.
But for the most part folks have approached the situation as a looming fact of life.
It has been interesting to watch some Hampton Roads bars and restaurants build completely separate smoking sections with stand-alone ventilation systems, the only way that a restaurant can still actively cater to the smoking crowd.