Concession stand at Jerusalem's Rav Chen theater 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Everyone knows the feeling: You approach the cinema holding a bottle of soda in
one hand and your film tickets in another, when an employee stops you and says:
“No outside food or drink allowed here.”
That scenario will soon be a
thing of the past, after the Knesset Economics Committee approved a
government-proposed amendment to the Consumer Protection Law Tuesday. Beginning
January 15, cinemas, sports arenas, performance venues and other similar
businesses will be prohibited from banning customers from entering their
premises with food and drink purchased elsewhere.
The Industry, Trade and
Labor Ministry’s Consumer Protection Authority will be given increased
enforcement and supervision powers. It will have the option of handing out fines
of as much as NIS 50,000 to corporations and NIS 35,000 to small businesses that
violate the new rules.
According to Consumer Protection Authority legal
adviser Hanna Weinstock Tiri, the police will still have the option of banning
the entry of outside food and drinks to certain places for reasons of public
Economics Committee chairman Carmel Shama-Hacohen (Likud) said
he was pleased that his proposal was approved despite opposition from
He said the aim was to defend consumers, who he argued are held
“captive” to exorbitant prices whenever they enter a cinema, sports event,
performance or hospital.
“The committee has prepared an immediate and
efficient remedy to every consumer injustice, in the form of fines of up to NIS
50,000,” Shama-Hacohen said. “One could view the new law as a type of Iron Dome
that will deter [businesses] and protect the small consumer.”
Lipshitz, deputy CEO of marketing for Globus Max cinema chain, told the
committee that his company makes most of its profits from the sale of food and
drinks and is not ashamed to admit so. The ban will cause irreversible damage to
businesses, he said, adding, “I could increase the cost of tickets but then less
people would come to the cinema.”