Theater Owners Urge Congress to Move Quickly on Aid; Pledge $1 Million to Movie Theater Employees

The National Association of Theatre Owners is calling on congress to step in to assist the movie theater industry through the economic crisis caused by COVID-19. The call follows similar measures taken by European governments to provide economic relief to the arts sector.

The association’s full statement is included below:

The movie theater industry and its employees ask for Congress and the Administration to urgently consider the following immediate relief measures, which we hope will allow the industry and its 150,000 employees, who live and work in practically every Congressional District, to weather the present COVID-19 pandemic crisis, including:

·         Loan guarantees that ease a liquidity squeeze imposed by fixed costs in the face of non-existent revenues.

·         Tax benefits to assist employers with providing support to employees;

·         Relieving the burden of costs that are ongoing despite closures; and

·         Tax measures that will allow theaters 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.

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 (NATO) today authorized $1 million dollars drawn from the Association’s 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.