In the prior Knesset an amendment to the Consumer Protection (Amendment No. 39) Law, 5741-1981, was approved, which was nicknamed the 'Popcorn Law'. The Law prohibits the prevention of the public from bringing food and drink which the public had brought with it or which it had purchased outside, into entertainment and sports' venues. The purpose was to prevent the public from becoming a 'captive audience' forced to purchase these items only inside the venue, which items were often much more expensive inside than outside of the venue. Under the existing law, ostensibly, the prohibition only applies to a venue where the owner thereof is the person who sells the items at that venue. However, at a venue where the sale is made by a franchisee (which is not the owner of the venue or the lessee thereof) – as is usually the case – the law, it seems, does not apply.
Currently, the provisions of the law provide, in Section 3(b), as follows:
'A business which did one of the following detailed below, will be regarded as having used unfair influence: …
(10) preventing the consumer from bringing to the place of the business or another place managed by the business (in this Subsection – place) food or drink of the same type that the business sells in the place…'
A private legislative proposal, of a group of Members of the Knesset requested to close off the gap in the law and to clarify that the responsibility for compliance with the provisions of the law also falls on those who operate a venue whether under a lease or franchise, and the owners of the venue should be obliged to mention this in the agreement with such operators. According to the amendment, the owners of venues can no longer wave off the responsibility under the law by contending that the Consumer Protection Law uses the language 'that the business sells in the place' and so does not apply to them (as they do not sell but only lease or franchise).
The proposed amendment is to amend Section 3(b)(10) as follows:
(10) preventing the consumer from bringing to the place of the business or another place managed by the business (in this Subsection – place) food or drink of the same type that is sold in the place…'
From the period the amendment enters into force, it will no longer be possible to prevent the bringing in of food or drinks to venues, unless it can be justified as in the 'public safety', according to police instructions or the person in charge of security. Thus, owners of venues will no longer be able to demand that event producers using those venues will prohibit the audience from bringing food and drink - which they brought with them - into the venues.
The proposal passed the preliminary reading in full and was approved on 17.2.2016 by the Economic Committee of the Knesset at the first reading and it is now pending full approval.
Reference: Legislative Proposal to the Consumer Protection (Amendment – Prohibition against Prevention of Consumers Bringing to a Business Place Food or Drink of the Same Kind Sold at the Place) Law, 5775-2015 (p/20/1763)