As we’ve discussed quite a bit over the last couple of weeks, as theaters around the US have closed their doors due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, some of the people hit the hardest are actually the daily employees of these cinemas. And with many of them likely shut down for at least the next six weeks, including chains such AMC, Regal, Cinemark, and Alamo Drafthouse, these workers run the risk of losing a large chunk of their income, including potentially losing their healthcare. For some of the workers at Alamo, however, the company is hoping to help out.
According to Variety, Alamo Drafthouse has set aside $2 million to help furloughed employees stay afloat during this extended closure. However, there is a caveat—the assistance only helps the employees of the corporate-run Drafthouse locations, which accounts for over half of the 40 locations (the other cinemas are franchises and independently owned, thus not part of the deal).
“We’re doing everything we can to help get our teams through the furlough period while making certain there will be a stable company to return to,” Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League said.
He continued, “The coronavirus pandemic is an existential threat to all cinema, but particularly independent and arthouse theaters. That’s why I’m asking for our friends and partners in the film and hospitality industries — if you believe companies like ours are vital to the welfare and strength of your businesses, please help us keep our people safe, strong, and ready to get back to work.”
Alamo Drafthouse says that nearly 80% of its staff at the corporate-run locations, including almost all of the theater workers, have been furloughed due to the pandemic-inspired closures. For those workers, they’ll receive a supplemental two weeks’ pay and Alamo will cover their insurance through the month of April.
While this may not be exactly what workers were hoping for, it’s definitely much-needed assistance. Unfortunately, we’ll have to see what happens if the closures extend past April, which is what many are already predicting, as the next major studio film isn’t scheduled until June 5 (“Wonder Woman 1984”). That being said, it’s far too early to speculate about what might happen in May, as this is an ever-evolving story.