By YOURI KEMP
Tribune Business Reporter
Galleria Cinemas says it does not expect to lay-off any staff despite being forced to close its doors to customers as a result of the coronavirus lockdown.
Christopher Mortimer, pictured, the company’s principal, said: “We are following the protocols set forth under the emergency order. We do not expect any layoffs.”
Declining to reveal how much of a hit Galleria’s financials are likely to take due to the 11-day lockdown, which ends on March 31, Mr Mortimer added that the cinema operator planned to “follow the guidelines set out by the authorities, be safe and use this time to strengthen familial bonds”.
Movie theatres and entertainment centres, such as nightclubs, bars and restaurants, are included in the definition of “non-essential businesses” that the government ordered to close to walk-in customers with effect from 9am on March 20, 2020.
Galleria was not the only movie operator impacted. The Fusion Superplex complex, based at the intersection of Gladstone Road and JFK Drive, has placed more than 350 of its employees on unpaid leave after it was also forced to close.
Carlos Foulkes, its chief executive, said Fusion Superplex had little choice but to take such action given that the company was otherwise faced with covering $1.1m in monthly operational expenses with no revenue coming in.
He expressed hope that the expanded social security safety net, with the National Insurance Board (NIB) now able to provide up to 13 weeks’ unemployment benefit for persons temporarily laid-off, would provide staff with sufficient income until Fusion Superplex fully re-opened. Mr Foulkes expressed hope this would happen in 30 days.