Updated: October 06, 2020 10:16 AM
Created: October 06, 2020 10:08 AM
The economic fallout from the pandemic continues, and it is hitting movie theaters. Regal announced it would shut down all of its theaters on Thursday.
The company says 40,000 employees will be furloughed. In the Capital Region, there are five Regal Cinemas in Guilderland, Colonie, East Greenbush, Clifton Park, and Queensbury.
With little to do in the midst of a pandemic, many movie theater owners say coming to a theater is something families can do safely.
In August, Gov. Cuomo said movie theaters are not essential, but owners disagree saying it is an escape for families dealing with terrible situations right now.
In New York, theater owners have said they will add MERV-11 filters, reduce capacity, require masks, and have strict cleaning protocols in place to be able to reopen. Movie theater owners say if others can open with low-risk exposure, why can’t theaters?
“You know nothing is low-risk, but we really think if bowling alleys, casinos, and dining are open – we’ve actually put protocols in place that make us as safe if not safer than many of these other industries,” said Ken Thewes, Chief Marketing Officer at Regal Cinemas.
It is also about getting the economy going. In New York, there have been 10,000 full or part time movie theater employees either furloughed or laid off.
Another issue for theaters is that studios are not releasing new movies because New York will not open theaters.
“When we are open, we are losing more money than if we closed because of all the fixed costs,” Thewes said. “It would make sense to stay open of the studios would bring their movies to all these other states, but they aren’t doing that because of New York.
The new James Bond movie was supposed to come out soon, but the release date was moved to spring 2021.
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