Independent movie theaters, live venues get help from stimulus package

NKC theater says it's like Christmas came early
Screenland Armour
Posted at 4:43 PM, Dec 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-22 18:34:24-05

NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A lot of movie theaters are being left empty, even during the holidays. Many of them are on the verge of closing because of the pandemic.

But it looks like help is on the way, which could keep places like Screenland Armour open.

"Christmas came early for movie theaters and concert venues throughout the country," said Adam Roberts, owner of Screenland Armour in North Kansas City.

The $900 billion stimulus package includes $15 billion to help the struggling entertainment world.

"Some people may look at it as a bailout, but we are looking at it as a catch-up," Roberts said. "For some people, some good chance forward."

Screenland Armour has been working around-the-clock to keep its doors open.

The theater has held an online fundraiser and chosen to show classic movies, doing anything to keep this dream of theirs alive.

"We are down like 70% for the year," Roberts said. "So, it does give us a boost but it has to be something that will last us really until sometime next year. It's funds that will carry us until next year."

Independent movie theaters are not alone in this relief; live venues also are included. That is music to the ears of the owners of The Riot Room in Westport.

"I think it would allow us to bring some of our employees back. I think it will allow us to hopefully catch up on a lot of the bills we had out there, even before the pandemic," said Tim Gutschenritter, co-owner of The Riot Room.

But just because help is on the way doesn't mean the fight to stay afloat is over.

"I think people see relief or a stimulus as, 'oh, they are fine now,'" Roberts said. "But talk to anyone who owns a small business and who has been impacted by this and giving 'x' amount of money doesn't guarantee you're into the future or doesn't even make sure you are good for tomorrow. It's just a little bit of getting to the surface."

The Riot Room has recently started a GoFundMe to help the venue survive the pandemic.

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