AMC Theatres was one of the first major movie theater chains to shut their doors ahead of the coronavirus pandemic and as a result furloughed roughly 26,000 of their 27,000 employees. Deadline now reports that the theater chain has now furloughed 600 of their remaining staff, who all worked at their home office in Leawood, Kansas, meaning 98.5% of the entire workforce of the chain has been temporarily laid off. AMC will still compensate some of their employees, dictated by how many days a week they work. They're also not the only chain to lay off a tremendous amount of their workforce as their main competitor Regal has also furloughed roughly 24,000 of its 25,000 employees.
"We're paying them as much as we can possibly afford to pay them," Adam Aron CEO of AMC Entertainment said of some furloughed employees in a CNBC interview. "For those in the health plan, we're keeping them in the health plan with their benefits active for the full time that we're shut. But my focus is as much making sure there's a company for them to come back to…I'd like to make sure that this company, which has been strong for 100 years, stays strong."
The largest theater chain in the country, AMC shut down all 630 locations nationwide last week and they will remain closed for a period of 6 to 12 weeks, potentially longer as the COVID-19 outbreak continues. AMC A-List, the service that allows patrons to see free movies by paying a monthly membership fee, will be put on pause while the theaters are shut down. No one subscribed to A-List will be charged during this time.
"We are ever so disappointed for our moviegoing guests and for our employee teams that the new CDC guidelines that Americans should not gather in groups larger than 10 people make it impossible to open our theatres," Aron said when the closure was announced. "Still, the health and wellbeing of AMC guests and employees, and of all Americans, takes precedence above all else. We will continue to monitor this situation very closely and look forward to the day we can again delight moviegoers nationwide by reopening AMC movie theatres in accordance with guidance from the CDC and local health authorities."
For those who are worried about the spread of the coronavirus, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention offers a litany of tips, including covering coughs and sneezes, avoiding large gatherings or close contact with people who are sick, and washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
(Cover Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)