US National Association of Theater Owners urge government for financial aid to stay afloat amid coronavirus lockdown

The National Association of Theater Owners is asking the federal government relief measures for its 150,000 movie theater workers.

FP Staff March 22, 2020 12:21:08 IST
US National Association of Theater Owners urge government for financial aid to stay afloat amid coronavirus lockdown

As the coronavirus outbreak forces theater chains to shutter down in order to help stem the spread of the virus, the US-based National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) is asking Congress to provide relief measures for its 150,000 employees.

US theater owners are applauding the efforts to pass coronavirus relief legislation to aid vulnerable employees and ensure business continuity during the coronavirus pandemic.  John Fithian, president and CEO of the NATO proclaims that it could be a hard hit for the theater business if the bill doesn't see the light of the day .

“The situation is that dire,”  Fithian, president and CEO of NATO told Variety, “Overnight, we went from an industry that makes $15 billion a year — $11 billion in ticket sales and $4 billion in concessions — to one that is not going to make a penny for three or four months.”

US National Association of Theater Owners urge government for financial aid to stay afloat amid coronavirus lockdown

Movie theatres | File Image

The organization said the movie theater industry is “uniquely vulnerable” to the crisis, and needs assistance to weather a near total shutdown of two to three months.

Banks, Fithian said, are unwilling to extend lines of credit to cinemas because no one is sure how long the public health crisis will last and theaters will need to remain closed. Hence, it is a bleak scenario for major theater chains as well as family-run cinema halls. While many had to let their workers go, these theaters still have to pay rent and utilities and they may likely face bankruptcy without government aid, Variety further reports.

In an official statement, NATO is asking specifically for a loan to assist with their lack of revenue and tax benefits and measures to help with both employees in the present, and theaters once they’re up and running again.

Major productions such as Disney’s Black Widow and Mulan, Universal’s Minions sequel and Paramount’s A Quiet Place Part II that were scheduled to debut this spring or summer have been delayed.

Fithian, further, urged studios and viewers to help them out. He stressed on public to not lose their faith in movie theaters or movie theater-going habits as concerns over the global coronavirus pandemic grows.

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