(KMOV) – St. Louis city goes smoke free in January.
Some businesses and entities are already seeking exemptions.
Bars can get an exemption for five years if they meet certain qualifications – for example, if food sales make up less than 25 percent of business.
Those that don’t comply face losing their business license and a $500 fine.
However, don’t expect to see a huge crackdown on smoking when the law begins.
“I don't have the staff to send everybody out the first week and check all 2,500 establishments, so as we do our routine inspections throughout the year, we'll make sure they're in compliance,” says Pamela Walker, St. Louis Health Department director.
The health department says inspectors will immediately check placed that generate a lot of complaints from customers about smoking.