Movie theater owners are calling on Congress and President Donald Trump to take emergency measures to provide financial relief for an industry that’s been hit hard by the impact of coronavirus. Cinemas have shuttered and new releases have been delayed as the world grapples with an unprecedented global health crisis. The closures have resulted in furloughs and layoffs, leaving thousands of hourly employees who sell popcorn, take tickets, clean theaters, and other tasks without income.
Through the National Association of Theatre Owners, the industry’s main lobbying arm, the exhibition sector is asking for loan guarantees to ease a liquidity squeeze that’s come about because multiplexes still have to pay rent and service overhear while no tickets are being sold. They are also seeking tax benefits to assist employers with providing support to employees. The group is pressing for help shouldering the costs that are ongoing despite closures; as well as urging tax measures that will allow theaters to recoup losses when the industry is back up and running.
“The business model of the movie theater industry is uniquely vulnerable in the present crisis,” the group said. “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. “
Additionally, the executive board of the National Association of Theatre Owners authorized $1 million dollars drawn from the group’s reserve to aid movie theater employees who are out of work due to movie theater closures.