After being abruptly closed in February, Michigan’s cigar lounges will be open for smoking Monday after protracted discussions between the state and Michigan’s cigar lobby.
The state in February invoked the state’s mask requirement and indoor smoking ban order to a halt cigar smoking in the state’s 300 lounges. The edict cited the state’s mask rule, which allowed the mask to be dropped to drink alcohol but did not exempt smoking.
The updated rule now allows cigar smoking and provides ventilation guidance that “most places will be able to meet,” said Alex Engelman, owner of Ernesto’s Cigar Lounge and Bar in Petoskey, Michigan.
Engelman trimmed his hours, as did many lounges, to accommodate drinkers rather than smokers.
“The biggest thing we lost is the daytime people who come in to smoke and maybe have a beer,” he said. “So we opened later in the evening to be more conducive to drinking hours.”
Businesses in Michigan have already been strapped by some of the most onerous pandemic restrictions in the U.S., including a requirement that restaurants collect the names and phone numbers of patrons.