U.S. Movie Theater Owners Urge Passage of Stimulus Legislation for Coronavirus Relief

Amid widespread closures of movie theaters in the U.S., theater owners are applauding the efforts to pass coronavirus relief legislation to aid vulnerable employees and ensure business continuity during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We particularly applaud the elements of phase III stimulus legislation that provide assistance to employees to help them weather this storm and that ensure access to capital while businesses are closed and unable to generate revenue while their expenses continue,” the National Association of Theatre Owners said in a statement Friday.

NATO said key elements in the legislation that will aid movie theater owners so they can remain resilient and ready to go back to work include: loan guarantee programs for severely distressed sectors of the economy, like movie theaters; small business interruption loans that facilitate easy and immediate access to credit; payroll tax deferrals; and tax loss carryforwards.

“We urge passage of this legislation that will help ensure the survival of the culturally and economically vital movie theater industry and its employees, and the thousands of public-facing businesses like it through this unprecedented crisis,” the trade group said. “We also urge Congress and the Administration to continue to develop and pass measures that provide direct relief to our 150,000 workers not covered by this legislation and the potentially millions of Americans like them to help them until this crisis has passed and they can return to work in the industries that this legislation helps keep whole.”

Most of the North American exhibition industry has closed down this week. AMC, Regal and Cinemark, the nation’s three biggest theater chains, have stopped operations and all movie theaters in many states, including California, New York, New Jersey, Ohio and Washington, have closed entirely.

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