A pair of neighboring south Texas cities, Weslaco and Donna, each passed smoking bans on Tuesday night that will soon bring an end to smoking within most businesses.
The bans are nearly identical and include exemptions for retail tobacco stores, private clubs, up to 25 percent of the rooms in a hotel or motel, and the outdoor seating areas of bars and restaurants. Included in the ban are several outdoor areas, including a general 20-foot radius around places where smoking is banned, as well as public transportation waiting area and the city zoo. Parks in general were not included in the ban, though the pavilions and playgrounds inside the parks were, including a 20-foot radius around those areas.
Fines for those who violate the bans start at $200 and can escalate to $2,000 for multiple offenses.
One area of difference is the effective dates; in Donna, the ban goes into effect immediately, while Weslaco’s goes into effect in 120 days.
Weslaco is home to 37,093 people while Donna is home to 16,270 residents as of a 2013 estimate. Both cities are located just about seven miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border.