Restaurant Smoking Ban


In order to protect restaurant workers and patrons from the harmful effects of second hand smoke, smoking is prohibited in restaurants that are open to the public, with a few exceptions.

Smoking may be permitted in food establishments under the following conditions:

  1. Any place or operation that prepares food to distribute to people in the same business operation or of a related business operation for service to the public. For example:
    • Operations that prepares food for catering services
    • Pushcart operations
    • Hotdog stands or other mobile points of service
  2. Any outdoor area of a restaurant, with or without a roof covering, provided the outdoor area is not enclosed by temporary enclosures.
    Temporary enclosures include:
    • Screened walls
    • Roll-up doors
    • Windows
  3. Any restaurant located on the premises of any manufacturer of tobacco products.
  4. Any portion of a restaurant constructed so that the area where smoking is permitted is:
    • Structurally separated from the non-smoking areas of the restaurant
    • Separately vented to prevent the recirculation of air from the smoking area to the non-smoking area
    • At least one public entrance  must be into an area where smoking is not permitted
      NOTE: If a restaurant is in existence as of December 1, 2009, it is not required to create an additional public entrance if the only public entrance is through an outdoor area of the restaurant where smoking is permitted
  5. Any portion of a restaurant used exclusively for private functions, provided the functions are limited to the areas that are separated by structure and ventilation as described in item 4.

In order to comply with the provisions of items 4 and 5, the owner of the establishment must provide the Health Department with the following:

  • A layout of the proposed designated smoking area showing the location of the smoking room and that it is structurally separate and vented from the rest of the facility
  • At least one public entrance into an area where smoking is not permitted. This applies to new construction of a restaurant
  • Documentation from a mechanical inspector from Fairfax County, town of Herndon, city of Fairfax or city of Falls Church showing that the designated smoking area is separately vented

If you have any questions or concerns about the new requirement, please contact the Health Department at 703-246-2510 TTY: 771.


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