Public Place Law & Legal Definition


A public place is generally an indoor or outdoor area, whether privately or publicly owned, to which the public have access by right or by invitation, expressed or implied, whether by payment of money or not, but not a place when used exclusively by one or more individuals for a private gathering or other personal purpose. The following is an example of a state law defining public places for smoking laws:

"Public place" means any enclosed indoor area used by the general public or serving as a place of work containing two hundred fifty or more square feet of floor space, including, but not limited to, all restaurants with a seating capacity greater than fifty, all retail stores, lobbies and malls, offices, including waiting rooms, and other commercial establishments; public conveyances with departures, travel, and destination entirely within this state; educational facilities; hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and other health care and medical facilities; and auditoriums, elevators, theaters, libraries, art museums, concert halls, indoor arenas, and meeting rooms. "Public place" does not include a retail store at which fifty percent or more of the sales result from the sale of tobacco or tobacco products, the portion of a retail store where tobacco or tobacco products are sold, a private, enclosed office occupied exclusively by smokers even though the office may be visited by nonsmokers, a room used primarily as the residence of students or other persons at an educational facility, a sleeping room in a motel or hotel, or each resident's room in a health care facility. The person in custody or control of the facility shall provide a sufficient number of rooms in which smoking is not permitted to accommodate all persons who desire such rooms.