ARANSAS PASS, Texas — Theaters across the nation have been hit hard due to the ongoing health crisis and without the help of funding, your favorite cinema could soon come to a close.
Zach Farnsworth, owner of Movies Inc., says his aviation-themed theatre is dedicated to his World War II pilot hero, his grandfather. The location in Aransas Pass opened in January, yet closed months later due to the pandemic.
Since then, Farnsworth says he has lost 80% of his cinema's revenue and his 40 employees have been reduced to 10. However, #SaveYourCinema, an initiative by the National Association of Theatre Owners, aims to bring a sense of normalcy.
“With the business gone, the employees you know you have to have a business for employees to work at, so I really think it’s going to bridge the gap to get us to the other side of this thing,” Farnsworth said.
According to the association, nearly 70% of movie theaters could close permanently or be forced into bankruptcy by the spring of 2021. The association is asking lawmakers to take action and provide funding.
"Without swift action from Congress our favorite theaters could close forever, depriving audiences of the magic of movies for years to come,” a statement from the National Association of Theatre Owners says.
Farnsworth says federal funding will help with daily operations, but in order to help theaters survive the pandemic, the community can contact their lawmakers to tell them of the importance of keeping them solvent.
In a statement, Congressman Michael Cloud says:
“It’s vital as a representative to always remember who you are working for," Cloud said. "That’s why a top priority for my team and me is staying connected to and hearing from people throughout our part of Texas.
"Small businesses continue to struggle under the burden COVID has imposed on society. I continue to push for both legal protections and extended financial support to recover and thrive as we move into the future.”
Community support for local cinemas can help keep them alive, Farnsworth says.
“I want people to go to a theatre," he said. "It doesn’t have to be at our theatre but I want them to go to the theatre in Portland, go to the theatre in Corpus just because when they go to a theatre it helps the overall industry.”