Canada: Theatre’s plan to serve beer and wine at the movies not a hit with all moviegoers
Artist compiling list of alcohol-free places for people with addictions or who just don’t want to be around it
February 5, 2020
Cineplex’s plan to serve beer and wine in theatres in St. John’s and Mount Pearl means problems for those looking for alcohol-free spaces, says Mik’maq artist Paul Pike.
“When I heard the news, it was like a kick in the gut,” Pike told The St. John’s Morning Show.
St. John’s city council voted 9-2 in favour of Cineplex’s application to operate its Scotiabank Cinemas location at the Avalon Mall to operate as a lounge. Mount Pearl city council approved a similar request from the company last week. The company will still need to apply for liquor licences from the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation.
Pike says the addition of alcohol to the movie theatres could pose a problem people looking for an alcohol-free space to enjoy, including children and families.
Complaints to council
“Not every family is OK with being around an alcohol environment,” Pike said. “It’s yet another venue that most families would rely on to be able to take their children in without having to have people drinking around them.”
Pike is not alone in his position. Ahead of Monday’s vote by St. John’s city council, at least two residents sent letters of complaint to the city. “This should be common sense. The answer should already be no,” reads one letter, which also suggests there’s a risk of underage drinking, and also says people who have struggled with alcohol addiction can no longer view the theatre as a safe place for them.
To help, Pike is working to create a list of events and places people who don’t want to be around alcohol can enjoy, including recreational and cultural centres, as well as businesses.
The list is short so far, he says, which shows that the serving of alcohol is becoming increasingly normalized in the province.
“It says that we seem to value more alcohol-related environments than family environments,” he said.
“Why is it that our community can’t do things without alcohol? Other than First Nations events, you don’t see a lot of [events without alcohol].”
He compared it to smoking in establishments.
“They did it for years and years and then finally said, ‘Well, maybe people who don’t smoke have rights too.'”