Following the publication of the full text of a $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill on Wednesday night, the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) praised the bill and said it will “help movie theaters and their workers in so many ways.”
Senate Republicans and Democrats finalized a deal for the one-time stimulus package on Wednesday, and a vote is expected Wednesday night. The package includes a combination of direct payments to individuals, increased funding for unemployment and an expansion of who qualifies, and billions for large and small businesses affected by shutdowns across the country.
“We applaud the bipartisan agreement reached in the Senate today to provide relief to movie theaters their employees and so many other public-facing industries that have had to close their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” NATO said in a statement Wednesday night. “With this agreement, movie theaters can look forward with confidence to re-opening and once again serving their communities when this crisis has passed.”
The lobby group representing exhibitors specifically praised the bill’s $454 billion loan guarantee fund, expanded SBA programs for small businesses, a deferral of payroll taxes and other tax breaks, the tax credit for businesses that retain their workforce during the shutdown, and the expanded unemployment benefits.
“With this aid, movie theaters can get through this crisis confident in being able to re-open, knowing their vital, trained workforce is able to weather this pandemic and have jobs waiting for them when it is safe to reopen,” NATO said.