The pandemic has hit a number of industries in devastating ways, with the entertainment industry, and especially the movie theater business, getting hit particularly hard. Unfortunately, the Paycheck Protection Protection loan meant to help those very businesses that were struggling didn’t even make a dent in the movie theater industry.
Why? The quick and dirty summary is that in order to be eligible for the round of loans in the PPP required businesses to have rehired their full staff roster by June 30th. But with movie theaters still closed, that wasn’t possible for the theater industry and many theaters, particularly independent ones and smaller chains, missed out on the loan. That means hundreds, if not thousands of movie theaters across the U.S. are in danger of shutting down forever.
Luckily, there’s a plan in place to save them – and you can help. The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) has launched the #SaveYourCinema grassroots campaign. They’re asking Congress for two things to help save theaters all over the U.S.:
- Roll out the full implementation of loans authorized by the CARES Act so theaters and chains of all sizes are helped
- Pass the RESTART Act, a new loan program similar to PPP that would have a longer window – and actually go to the hardest-hit businesses and the ones less able to rebound from the pandemic shutdown
Here’s where you come in. You – yes, you reading this right now – can head to the Save Your Cinema site and fill out a few bits of info to send a letter to your U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators in Congress urging them to pass more relief legislation and quickly. Theaters have given us so much and now we’re in a position to give back. It only takes 20 seconds to support movie theaters and tell Congress to pass the legislation that will help theaters weather this storm. Seriously, it’s this easy:
- Go to saveyourcinema.com
- Fill out your info – you probably even already have it set to auto-fill
- Hit “Send Message”
That’s it! You’re done. As the #SaveYourCinema form letter says
“Movie theaters had to shut down early on in the pandemic and will be among the last to recover…Even when theaters can reopen, the road for recovery will be long because of the very nature of movie theaters as public gathering places…
Movie theaters are integral to the social, cultural, and economic life of our communities. In addition to being community gathering places, theaters employ so many vulnerable individuals underrepresented in the workforce, including young people and people with disabilities. We cannot afford to lose our precious cinemas.”
Even beyond the economic impact, just think of what a world without movie theaters would be like. Sure, it’s great to have the option to stream things from home, but we’ve gotten a taste of that over the last four months and, well…it’s just not the same. As convenient as streaming services are, they simply can’t replace the communal experience of seeing a great crowd movie in a packed theater. Even the greatest TV setup can’t replicate the feel of seeing a movie that absolutely blows you away on the big screen. No at-home platform can create the kind of memories that we’ve all formed while seeing a movie in a dark theater with some of our best friends, or on a butterfly-fueled first date, or as a bonding experience with a parent or child. And they certainly can’t generate the fun of sitting around for hours after the movie ends, talking and arguing about it with friends.
We want to save movie theaters and we’re pretty sure you, our loyal movie fans, will want to, too. So click the link, send the letter, and then spread the #SaveYourCinema word on social media.