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State clarifies smoking rules at bars and restaurants

LANSING (WKZO) -- A new ruling from the Michigan Department of Agriculture affects where people are allowed to smoke near restaurants. The director of the department, Jamie Clover Adams, says that there's been some confusion since the public smoking ban was implemented in 2010 about whether people are allowed to smoke in the patio areas of bars and restaurants. She clarified it all this week with an order.

Adams says that restaurants can allow smoking on their patios or roofs, but only if there are no food or beverages being produced or served in that area. She says businesses that choose to use their patios or roofs as smoking areas will not be allowed to send employees out there for any reason, so they remain protected from bothersome smoke.

If a restaurant wants to use its patio for dining for part of the day, and then stop serving food out there to let people use it for smoking instead, that's now also allowed.