Theaters Seek Government Assistance for ‘Unprecedented’ Crisis

The movie theater industry is asking for Congress and the Trump Administration to urgently consider fiscal relief as it grapples with a global shut down of business operations due to the coronavirus.

In a March 18 statement from the National Association of Theatre Owners, the trade group said the immediate fiscal aid would allow exhibitors and its 150,000 employees to weather the present COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

Exhibitors, which include AMC Theatres and Regal Cinemas, are looking for loan guarantees to ease liquidity issues imposed by fixed costs in the face of non-existent revenue.

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They also are seeking tax benefits to assist employers with providing support to employees; relief from the burden of costs that are ongoing despite closures; and additional tax measures that would allow theaters recoup losses when the industry is back up and running.

Simply stated: the current business model of the movie theater industry is uniquely vulnerable in the present COVID-19 crisis.

“As we confront this evolving and unprecedented period, we call on Congress and the Administration to ensure that America’s movie theater industry and its tens of thousands of employees across the country can remain resilient,” NATO said.

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Separately, NATO’s executive board authorized $1 million dollars drawn from its reserve to aid movie theater employees who are out of work due to movie theater closures stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. The money will be used as seed funds for an effort to help tide workers over in this crisis in cooperation with our industry partners. Details of the fund will be released shortly.


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