Ahead of the U.S. Senate passing the $2 trillion relief bill, The National Association of Theatre Owners has already dubbed this a big win for movie theaters.
The bill reportedly contains a $454 billion loan guarantee fund which, in part, will help cinemas get by on their fixed costs as local and state governments force a shutdown out of safety due to the coronavirus over the next few months.
The relief package will reportedly include different tiers that will help not just the major chains but small ‘mom and pop theaters’. Expanded SBA programs will allow small businesses in several categories to have their expenses eligible for loan forgiveness.
Cinema workers laid off or furloughed can reportedly see up to four months of direct aid through extended and expanded unemployment insurance. Below is part of a statement from NATO:
“We applaud the bipartisan agreement reached in the Senate today to provide relief to movie theaters their employees and so many other public-facing industries that have had to close their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With this agreement, movie theaters can look forward with confidence to re-opening and once again serving their communities when this crisis has passed.
With this aid, movie theaters can get through this crisis confident in being able to re-open, knowing their vital, trained workforce is able to weather this pandemic and have jobs waiting for them when it is safe to reopen.
We are grateful for the work of Congress and the Administration and those, in and out of the entertainment industry who have supported our efforts on behalf of this industry that is so central to our culture and civic life. We look forward to its quick passage in the House and signature by the President.”
So it looks as though cinemas may be saved by the U.S. Government. Questions still remain as to whether audiences will come flooding back once their doors are open again, and whether international marketplaces and their cinemas will receive similar treatment or be forced to hold on through the pandemic without a bailout.