2009: Banned in Raleigh

2009: Banned in Raleigh

December, 16, 2009, by Stacey

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2009 was all about the “NO,” with several surprising bans taking shape, both in Raleigh and across the state. Restrictions were enacted (and in one instance, later lifted) that affect citizens in their vehicles, at restaurants and bars, and even in parades. In 2009 we saw how quickly the slogan “no, we can’t” became more of a reality than “yes, we can.”

Back in May, Governor Purdue kicked off the summer by signing a ban on indoor smoking in the state of North Carolina, surprising many, as NC is the largest producer of tobacco in the nation. The ban, which will officially go into effect just after everyone’s New Year’s hangover subsides, prohibits smoking in public establishments such as restaurants and bars, but excludes cigar bars and private clubs.

Public smoking bans are slowly becoming the norm, with 29 states currently having such laws in effect. However, considering the massive power tobacco lobbyists wield in NC, many state residents remained convinced until this summer that a ban would never be supported in our state. This legislation, in conjunction with the vice taxes that have also been passed over the past year, has made it increasingly difficult for smokers. Those who indulge will be able to light up and enjoy a drink at their favorite bar for the last time on January 1st, 2010.

Previous Articles: Smoking Ban Signed Into Law and some polls Poll: Smoking Ban Amendment and Poll: Non-Smoking Bars

And then, the back and forth: Hey Smokers! and Smoky Bars Are Not That Gross, You’re Just Really Whiny

In August of this year, we experienced the whole banned dog fiasco.  New Raleigh published an article detailing how Wake County food safety officials had begun informing local restaurants that dogs were prohibited from outdoor eating areas and restaurant patios. Citing their interpretation of a state regulation, officials suggested that pooches were not only not allowed in food prep and service areas, but also from dining areas, both indoors and outside.

The technicality of the regulation’s wording set off a controversy, and while there was some support for the decision, many dog fans across the area reacted rabidly, rallying against the interpretation. After several days of media coverage and a review of the state statutes, Wake County attorney announced that restaurants would be allowed to make their own calls on the issue, setting many local pet fans at ease. Due to the vagueness of the wording in the statutes though, this issue could very well be revisited at some point in the future.

First WTF! Wake County to Ban Dogs on Restaurant Patios? and then Wake County Reconsiders Dogs Allowed on Patios


State legislators also announced this past summer that a ban on texting while driving would go into effect in North Carolina beginning December 1st. This made NC one of 19 states, along with the District of Columbia, that has such a law on the books, though skeptics contended its effectiveness. The penalty for this transgression is a mere $100, and it doesn’t prevent drivers from doing any number of things – messing with an mp3 player, talking on a phone, browsing the internet, or knitting, to name a few – that would distract them from the wheel. Additionally, the ban does not apply to drivers who are in a parked or stopped vehicle, nor does it ever apply to law enforcement officers or emergency personnel. Time will tell if the ban has any effect on accident rates, but I know I’ve seen my share of texting drivers throughout the month of December, so thus far it hasn’t seemed much of a deterrent.

Previous Articles: Texting While Driving Banned and “>Texting While Driving Banned and Texting While Driving Law Takes Effect Tuesday

And, with a good old-fashioned blow to our holiday spirit, the Greater Raleigh Merchant’s Association decided to cap off the year by banning Mrs. Claus from this year’s Raleigh Christmas Parade. Apparently there’s only room for one Santa suit in this town, as the association based this decision on the fear that children would confuse Mr. And Mrs. Claus because they wore similar costumes. Many were left to wonder if that was a good enough reason. Parade officials took the “bah humbug” attitude a step further by discouraging parade attendees from wearing their own Santa hats. Happy holidays!

Mrs. Claus Banned from Raleigh Christmas Parade. Elves Riot!

Looking forward to 2010, we at New Raleigh are left to wonder if the trend of bans that began in 2009 will continue or subside, and like our readers, we’re also curious to see the effects of these new laws. But for now, take your dog to your favorite restaurant and smoke away…just be sure not to wear your Santa hat or text on your way there.

Read More

Politics, Other posts by Stacey.


BeerBarsRestaurantsSmoking2009 In ReviewTexting


  • John
    12/17 02:39 AM

    Yes we can breathe clean air!  Yes we can be safer in our cars!

  • RaleighRob
    12/17 09:23 AM

    Some bans are good (smoking in restaurants, texting while driving) while others are dumb (the dogs at outdoor cafes).  That’s just the way law-writing happens I guess.

  • Adrian Hands
    12/17 12:23 PM

    It sounds like it’s time for someone at Raleigh to organize a Santa Hat bike ride!

  • John
    12/17 01:01 PM

    Didn’t the dog issue get resolved?  I don’t think it ever went into effect.  Why does it still get talked about? Please correct me if I am wrong.
    But, while we are on the topics of dogs at outdoor cafes… for me, it’s more about the dog’s owners inability to control their dogs than it is about the dogs themselves.  Pretty much the same is true for children. People enjoying a night out on the town should not have to be subjected to uncontrolled animals or children.  That’s just my opinion.

  • RaleighRob
    12/17 01:56 PM

    ^Perhaps with the smoking bans, restaurants can now divide their dining areas in a better way:  Kids and Non-Kids!  :-)

  • Rokr
    12/17 02:33 PM

    What’s next? No tea in coffee shops? Next thing you know, we’ll all be livin’ in a freaking commonwealth!  I don’t think so, Virginia.

  • Jeff
    12/17 03:11 PM

    i also agree with raleighrob that the smoking/texting bans make sense, but the dog ban is idiotic.  you’re eating outside for crying out loud!  we went to isaac hunter’s last night for the first time, and playing with their dog was half the fun (they also have a great place and a real nice bartender)

  • Bobby
    12/23 01:08 PM

    The dog issue was ridiculous. My neighbor is co-owner of a coffee shop downtown and was one of the folks wigging out about the enacted/proposed ban. 

    His customers love to bring their dogs and sit outside.  Same at Raleigh Times.  Glad it’s not in affect anymore.  If the dog’s on a leash who cares?


  • Holy
    12/24 02:57 AM

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  • Katherine Whitaker
    01/22 09:54 AM

    No more smoking in doors=AWESOME!!! Now drunk people won’t blow smoke in my face from two feet away while I’m singing.

    The dog thing=awwww…pooches should be able to sit and chill with their owners outside, permitting the dog isn’t barking or disturbing others while they try to eat. People that tie their dogs to a post and then go inside somewhere—not cool at all.

    The texting/driving thing=terrible habit. Everyone should stop doing this. I even heard a rumor that they were going to ban talking on the phone while driving, which isn’t as bad as texting, but still is distracting.

    The Mrs. Santa thing=RETARDED.

  • Tracy
    04/18 01:38 AM

    That’s way the bestest asnewr so far!

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