Remember that bill two Vancouver, Wash. congressmen are pushing that would make it easier for movie theaters to serve booze? Well, Central Cinema is not so sure that it will really help them the way it is written.
As we reported earlier this month, the state Liquor Board changed laws concerning serving alcoholic beverages in movie theaters without alerting Central Cinema to the change until recently. The Liquor Board and Central Cinema are working to find a solution, and the theater is operating as normal.
Meanwhile, a bill under consideration in the state legislature would seek to change the laws concerning alcohol sales in theaters, mostly to address issues encountered by Kiggins Theater in Vancouver, Wash. The Liquor Board opposes SB 6366 and its companion bill HB 2558 because of concerns about minors having easier access to alcohol because of the “darkened house” of the theaters.
After watching the Senate Labor Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee discuss the bill (see below), Kevin Spitzer at Central Cinema (a CDN sponsor) says they would prefer to simplify existing rules rather than add more complications as the proposed bill seems to do:
We feel that the bills were not very well thought out about how they would affect theaters beyond the one the bill sponsors are trying to help. The testimony of the Liquor Board is also bizarre in that they contradict themselves several times. The argument that theaters with liquor licenses must meet the minimum lighting and restaurant requirements but then are considered “darkened houses” because the lighting is below the allowed level contradicts itself. They also state that there is currently no license for theaters yet goes on to describe the regulations for theaters serving alcohol.
Our position is that theater entertainment in a dark venue is the same no matter what format that entertainment is presented in. Venues with live entertainment are allowed to have minors in a dark room during a show in many situations except for the special rule regarding cinemas (because they are darker?) A venue either meets the lighting requirement or it doesn’t. The Triple Door and Jazz Alley are allowed to have minors while Cinemas are not because the shows are projected.
It was frustrating to watch this video but we thought you should be kept up on where things are going.
We are currently also discussing things with Carl Marquardt of the Mayor’s office and Brian McMenamin of McMenamin’s in Oregon that operate the Olympic Club theater in Centralia WA. Hopefully we can make something happen where the Liquor Board will simplify their rules instead of adding more complicated ones.
I know you are watching the legislation in more detail than I am, and I think many would follow any suggested actions we could take. As far as I am concerned you could even draft the suggested message.
Central Cinema is a great part of the neighborhood, and we all want y’all to survive and prosper. So whatever we can do to help!