Texas Mu­sic The­ater nearly smoke-free

Austin American-Statesman - - COMMUNITY NEWS - By Ciara O’rourke corourke@states­man.com Con­tact Ciara O’rourke at 512392-8750.

SAN MAR­COS — Texas Mu­sic The­ater has banned smok­ing most nights of the week and will likely snuff it en­tirely next year.

Since open­ing in early 2011, the two-story mu­sic the­ater has reg­u­larly re­ceived com­plaints about smok­ing and re­quests to dis­al­low it, said Jodi Tid­well, the the­ater’s mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor.

They banned smok­ing for the first time for a Thanks­giv­ing show, she said. Now the vice is only ac­cept­able on Thurs­days, when Texas State Univer­sity stu­dents pack in to dance to a D J set.

Ev­ery other per­son seems to be hold­ing a cig­a­rette on those nights, Tid­well said, and the­ater em­ploy­ees have wor­ried that stu­dents would be dis­suaded from at­tend­ing if they couldn’t.

Even so, Tid­well said she thinks the venue will be­come en­tirely smoke-free next year. The the­ater is or­ga­niz­ing a fo­cus group to talk about the idea and glean other feed­back about the venue.

The San Mar­cos City Coun­cil came close to putting a non­bind­ing ref­er­en­dum on the Novem­ber bal­lot last year ask­ing res­i­dents whether to ban smok­ing in pub­lic ar­eas but ul­ti­mately voted against it.

A 1995 city or­di­nance al­ready re­stricts smok­ers to some de­gree, mak­ing it an of­fense to smoke in pub­lic meet­ing rooms in government build­ings, pub­lic ar­eas in gro­cery stores and class­rooms, among other “clean air ar­eas.”

So far she said she’s only heard from two peo­ple who are dis­ap­pointed with the new re­stric­tions. Oth­ers have thanked the the­ater, she said.

The the­ater also hopes the change will en­cour­age more tourism while keep­ing res­i­dents in town that would have oth­er­wise trav­eled to San An­to­nio and Austin for smoke­free venues.

To par­tic­i­pate in the the­ater’s fo­cus group about the ex­pected change, email Tid­well at jodi@tmtsm.com.

A pro­ces­sion of Cen­tral Texas pub­lic safety ve­hi­cles heads to Fred­er­icks­burg Thurs­day for the funeral of Austin-Travis County EMS Cap­tain Randy Trin­kle, 46. The 15-year veteran was killed Satur­day in a head-on col­li­sion.

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