Lyda Krewson

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Count Joe Edwards among the Delmar Loop business owners who are salivating at the prospect of hundreds of students living near their businesses.

Edwards, the owner of Loop staples Blueberry Hill and the Moonrise Hotel, said the more than 400 Washington University students who will live in the soon-to-be-finished dorm rooms will be a boon to local businesses. He said he’s hopeful all those students will also keep business lively at the Peacock Diner, a 24-hour restaurant he owns that will serve up spiked milkshakes and a variety of pies.

Bars in St. Louis that are thinking about applying for an exemption to the city's smoking ban will have to count any tents they use to expand seating areas toward the square footage total that allows them to get that exemption.

The city's ban includes language that lets bars smaller than 2,000 square feet and where "the serving of food is only incidental to the consumption" of alcoholic beverages to allow their patrons to smoke until January 1, 2016.

So why do tents matter?