As the city moves toward a ban on the use of trans fats at city restaurants, the city's Public Health Department is beginning to grant smoking-ban waivers to a handful of taverns.

The waivers are a key facet of the law that went into effect in early January. The new provision allows a tavern that has food sales amounting to 20 percent or less of its total sales to apply for a permanent waiver from the smoking ban. The taverns can apply until April 9.

So far 49 taverns have applied, of which seven have been denied and eight granted the exemption.

"In most cases, the denials were for failing to meet the revenue requirements or for failing to be up to date on their taxes," said Jeff Moran, spokesman for the Department of Public Health.

The taverns are required to post a special sign informing patrons that smoking is legal on the premises, Moran said.

Now permanently exempt from the smoking ban: Friendly Bar at 1039 S. 8th St.; B. James River at 4027 Lancaster Ave.; Tonic on Main at 4421 Main St.; Firefighters Home Association at 415 N. 5th St.; The Philadelphia Club at 1301 Walnut St.; 32 Degree Luxe Lounge at 16 S. 2nd St.; Delilah's at 100 Spring Garden St. and the Bottoms Up Bar at 4659 N. 5th St. *

Mark McDonald