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.