Lighting up on Pearl Street Mall won't get you a fine -- yet.
The smoking ban on the mall is in effect, but the order for the signs detailing the new rules is taking longer than expected and enforcement so far has been limited to warnings.
City spokeswoman Sarah Huntley said signs are expected to be in place by the middle of February. Once the signs are up, she said, Boulder police officers plan to spend the following few weeks warning smokers -- but not ticketing them.
"Officers are still in the stage of educating people about the new ordinance," she said. "They have not issued any formal warnings or citations."
The Pearl Street Mall smoking ban received final approval from the Boulder City Council in the middle of December. The ordinance went into effect 30 days later.
The ordinance bans all smoking -- whether tobacco or marijuana -- on the four blocks of the Pearl Street Mall. The Boulder County commissioners also barred smoking on the county-owned lawn in front of the old county courthouse along the mall.
A first or second offense within two years would result in a ticket up to $500.
A third offense in two years could result in a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 90 days in jail.
Huntley said officers who have approached smokers have found them to be "generally cooperative" and that regulars, especially those who work on the mall, are becoming aware of the new rule.
She said city staff members are working with Boulder County Public Health and Downtown Boulder Inc. to develop a strategic education campaign around the new ordinance, especially for new visitors.
"We are also anticipating a greater opportunity to get out to talk with people during warmer spring and summer months and when more tourists are here," she said.
The Downtown Boulder Inc. board, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and the Boulder County commissioners all supported the mall smoking ban.
In a memo proposing the ban last year, city officials said smoking on the mall detracts from visitors' experience and that cigarette butt removal represents a significant amount of work for cleaning crews.
Contact Camera Staff Writer Amy Bounds at 303-473-1341 or firstname.lastname@example.org.