NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The License Commission has given the North Adams Movieplex permission to serve beer and wine in the theater.
The commission heard from theater manager Scott Ingalls and attorney F. Sydney Smithers on Tuesday to discuss the beer and wine application.
"The set up is very much like other theaters," Smithers said. "... This is a real service to the community and will serve as an additional attraction to persuade patrons to attend the theater. As you know theaters are coming out of their quarantine period."
Cinemas have been closed since the governor's emergency order in mid-March shutting down indoor venues to contain the novel coronavirus. The state moved into Phase 3 of its four-phase reopening this week, allowing theaters to begin reopening with restrictions. The theater has not set a opening date other than "sometime in July," according to its Facebook page. In the meantime, it was selling popcorn and concessions up until June 18, when it ceased sales to begin preparing for reopening.
Smithers said the plan is to install two beer and two wine dispensers at the concession stand. Drinks would be served in cups that could be brought into the individual theaters.
There will be no wait service.
Commissioner Peter Breen asked that only one drink at a time be served to a person. He also asked that those who wish to order a drink are given some sort of wristband.
"People would really have one drink maybe two it is not like they are sitting at a bar," he said. "If someone is walking around with a wristband, it is an easier way to check."
Ingalls said he had already planned to use these two practices and folks who order a drink will have to show identification for age and will be given a wristband. He added the server would also check their movie ticket to ensure that they are actually in the theater to see a movie -- not just to order a drink.
The individual theaters are regularly checked during showings, he said, and staff will monitor who has these wristbands on to make sure there is no underage drinking.
Ingalls said employees will be TIPs, or Training for Intervention Procedures, certified and all of his employees are over age 18 so they can serve alcohol. He said if they were to ever hire someone younger, they would not serve and management would be on staff.
The prices would be similar to restaurants: $6 for a glass of beer and $8 for a glass of wine.
Service would only be during regular business hours and would stop at 10:30 p.m. Ingalls said there is no intention open a bar in the waiting area and that patrons will not be served in the lobby while they are waiting for a movie to start.
He asked if it would be possible to extend serving hours on occasions when they want to hold midnight showings.
The commission said this would be allowable but Ingalls would have to come before the commission beforehand to seek permission.
"We haven't done that in a while, this is a sleepy town, so in reality there wouldn't be a midnight showing," Ingalls said. "But it is good to know we can come to ask you."
The theater has in the past done midnight opening-day showings for highly anticipated films but not in some time.
The commission will refer its recommendation to the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.
In other business, the commission approved Grazie's application to expand its seating area to Center Street. The city has shut down a section of the street between the parking lot entrances to allow for more outdoor seating to provide ample room for social distancing. The commission has already approved a number of restaurants for outdoor seating service during the pandemic.
"I think the city is working with them and I don't have any questions or concerns," Breen said.
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During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have been forced to work from home. But once we've moved past the virus, many workers may continue working from home. More than one-third of companies with employees who started working from home now think that remote work will stay more common post-pandemic, according to a Harvard Business School study. This shift to at-home work can affect people's lives in many ways – and it may end up providing workers with some long-term financial advantages.
If you're one of those who will continue working remotely, either full time or at least a few days a week, how might you benefit? Here are a few possibilities:
Reduced transportation costs – Over time, you can spend a lot of money commuting to and from work. The average commuter spends $2,000 to $5,000 per year on transportation costs, including gas, car maintenance, public transportation and other expenses, depending on where they live, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Census Bureau. If you are going to work primarily from home, you should be able to greatly reduce these costs.
Potentially lower car insurance premiums – Your auto insurance premiums are partially based on how many miles you drive each year. So, if you were to significantly reduce these miles by working from home, you might qualify for lower rates.
Lower expenditures on lunches – If you typically eat lunch in restaurants or get takeout while at work, you could easily be spending $50 or more per week – even more if you regularly get coffee drinks to go. By these figures, you could end up spending around $3,000 a year. Think how much you could reduce this bill by eating lunch at home during your remote workday.
Lower clothing costs – Despite the rise in "casual dress" days, plenty of workers still need to maintain appropriate office attire. By working from home, you can "dress down," reducing your clothing costs and dry-cleaning bills.
As you can see, it may be possible for you to save quite a bit of money by working from home. How can you use your savings to help meet your long-term financial goals, such as achieving a comfortable retirement?
For one thing, you could boost your investments. Let's suppose that you can save $2,500 each year by working remotely. If you were to invest this amount in a tax-deferred account, such as an IRA or your 401(k) or similar employer-sponsored plan and earned a hypothetical 6 percent annual return for 20 years, you'd accumulate more than $97,000 – and if you kept going for an additional 10 years, you'd have nearly $210,000. You'd eventually pay taxes on the amount you withdrew from these accounts (and withdrawals prior to age 59½ may be subject to a 10% IRS penalty), but you'd still end up pretty far ahead of where you'd be otherwise.)
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