Wisconsin movie theaters get $10 million state COVID-19 grant

Published: Oct. 6, 2020 at 12:48 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) - An association of movie theater owners says it’s “deeply appreciative" of a $10 million grant from Gov. Tony Evers to support the theaters in Wisconsin. Theaters received money from a COVID-19 grant fund for businesses affected by the pandemic.

Movie theaters were closed by the Safer at Home order in the spring. Some that reopened in late summer are closed again, with theaters citing low attendance and a lack of content from Hollywood.

The National Association of Theatre Owners says Gov. Evers recognized the industry’s “tremendously dire situation.” The association represents more than 100 movie theaters in Wisconsin a total of about 700 screens.

“After suffering nearly six months of complete closure in 2020 with almost zero revenue, this lifeline will help movie theaters survive in Wisconsin -- but only in the short term,” George Rouman, a theater owner and president of the association’s Wisconsin chapter, wrote in a statement.

Rouman said theaters need help at the federal level from an act of Congress to tap into unused funds from the CARES Act. “Without this assistance, it’s estimated that 69% of all small and mid-sized movie theater companies will be forced to file for bankruptcy or close permanently,” he wrote.

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