County sets smoking appeal plan

The co-owner of an Everett bar said she has lost an estimated $52,000 in revenue since the state’s strict indoor smoking ban went into effect in December.

Donna Kerns, who owns the White Elephant Bar &Grill in north Everett with her husband, John Troia, spoke to the Snohomish Health District on Tuesday about the effect of the law on local businesses.

On Super Bowl Sunday alone, the bar often takes in $5,000 to $6,000, she said. This year, she said, it took in $400.

For more info

If a business has failed to post required no-smoking signs, or allows smoking indoors or within 25 feet of a doorway, complaints can be reported to the Snohomish Health District at 425-339-5237 or at For information on the law, click on the “100 percent smoke-free Washington” logo.

Kerns and her husband opposed an initiative approved by voters in November banning indoor smoking in businesses and public places. The ban also prevents people from smoking within 25 feet of doorways, windows and vents to keep secondhand smoke out of buildings and away from the public.

Smokers, pushed outside, have had to endure a string of 30 days of wet weather, plus cold and rain, Kerns said.

The law allows a business to apply for an exemption to the rule banning smoking within 25 feet of doorways, windows and ventilation systems if the business can show “clear and convincing evidence” that smoke will not reach the building’s interior.

Kerns pushed the health district to quickly adopt provisions for appealing the 25-foot rule, saying small businesses are “dying on the vine right now.”

In fact, the formal appeal process was on Tuesday’s agenda, and was later approved by the health district board.

Dr. M. Ward Hinds, who heads the public health agency, said health districts throughout Washington worked with the state Department of Health to try to come up with a similar appeals process.

The Snohomish Health District’s policy calls for a $100 fee for the appeals application and a $542 fee for a second appeal with a hearing examiner. Officials said the fees would help cover the district’s costs.

The policy also allows for businesses to request a “pre-appeal” meeting with health district staff to discuss problems at no cost.

After the meeting, Kerns said she would ask for an appeal of the 25-foot rule for her business.

The loss of business has taken a toll, she said. She and her husband thought of the 54-year-old business as their retirement plan.

Kerns and her husband built a lounge for smokers behind the bar, a 28-foot by 8-foot enclosed space decorated in a tropical theme. It has a wood stove to keep customers cozy, but she said she was told not to use it by city workers.

“That’s caused a lot of people to stay away,” she said.

“I’ve gotten shingles over this,” Kerns said. “When you see the tills down $20,000 a month, all I can be is depressed.”

Talk to us

More in Local News

A memorial for a 15-year-old shot and killed last week is set up at a bus stop along Harrison Road on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Teen boy identified in fatal shooting at Everett bus stop

Bryan Tamayo-Franco, 15, was shot at a Hardeson Road bus stop earlier this month. Police arrested two suspects.

Mike Bredstrand, who is trying to get back his job with Lake Stevens Public Works, stands in front of the department’s building on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in Lake Stevens, Washington. Bredstrand believes his firing in July was an unwarranted act of revenge by the city. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lake Stevens worker was fired after getting court order against boss

The city has reportedly spent nearly $60,000 on attorney and arbitration fees related to Mike Bredstrand, who wants his job back.

Chap Grubb, founder and CEO of second-hand outdoor gear store Rerouted, stands inside his new storefront on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in Gold Bar, Washington. Rerouted began as an entirely online shop that connected buyers and sellers of used gear.  (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Used outdoor gear shop Rerouted finds a niche in Gold Bar

Seeking to keep good outdoor gear out of landfills, an online reselling business has put down roots in Gold Bar.

Naval Station Everett. (Chuck Taylor / Herald file)
Everett man sentenced to 6 years for cyberstalking ex-wife

Christopher Crawford, 42, was found guilty of sending intimate photos of his ex-wife to adult websites and to colleagues in the Navy.

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers speaks to the crowd during an opening ceremony at the new PAE2 Amazon Fulfillment Center on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Snohomish County executive pitches $1.66B budget

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers announced his proposed budget Tuesday afternoon. Public comment is slated to begin Oct. 10.

Jamel Alexander, center, listens as a Snohomish County jury records their verdict of guilty, in the murder of Shawna Brune, on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 in Everett, Washington.  Alexander was convicted in the first degree murder of Brune. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Appeals court orders new trial in Everett woman’s stomping death

Appellate judges ruled that additional evidence should have been admitted in Jamel Alexander’s trial for the murder of Shawna Brune.

Kristy Carrington, CEO of Providence Swedish of North Puget Sound, speaks during a Healthcare Summit at Everett Community College on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Providence, Optum and Premera discuss challenges at Everett summit

Five panelists spoke on labor shortages, high costs and health care barriers Wednesday at Everett Community College.

A salmon leaps out of the water while migrating up Wood Creek on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023 in Monroe, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
As Woods Creek railroad trestle comes down, a new doorway for salmon

The trestle was a toxic, physical barrier for salmon since 1939. Now, migrating fish will benefit from its removal.

Schools still without water after service restored to Tulalip homes

The affected area included Quil Ceda Elementary, as well as Heritage and Legacy high schools.

Most Read