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Booze to be allowed in movie theatres

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The Manitoba Liquor Control Commission has amended its rules allowing booze to be sold at movie theatres.

MLCC head Roman Zubach said the commission has been approached by a major entertainment organization with plans to open a new multiplex theatre concept that would include alcohol and food service.

"The organization is prepared to undertake a significant investment in our province with this new movie theatre concept. Under our liquor licensing system there was no opportunity for us to accommodate this proposal," said Zubach.

The commission accommodated the new enterprise by amending the liquor licensing regulation under the Liquor Control act to allow alcohol service within a movie theatre complex under a special activities licence. Before the change, such licences could only be issued for premises providing live theatrical or musical performances, exhibitions, conventions or events promoting tourism, culture, sports or recreation.

Zubach said the amendment allows for a Spectator Activities Licence to be issued to a movietheatre complex provided it contains at least two theatres with a minimum of 75 permanent seats in each theatre within the complex. In addition, the licensed portion of the movie theatre complex may not comprise more than 50 per cent of the theatres within that complex. Liquor service would be restricted to the licensed theatre and patrons would not be able to take liquor into the unlicensed portion of the complex.

Gord Mackintosh, minister responsible for The Liquor Control Act, said the licensing regulation change is in keeping with the province’s New Hospitality Strategy announced last May.

"We want to ensure Manitoba liquor laws provide opportunities for our hospitality sector to create unique entertainment options that are attractive to Manitobans and visitors to our province," said Mackintosh.

"By setting specific requirements for this form of license we are ensuring responsible service continues to be a priority while encouraging innovation in the industry."

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