The global Coronavirus outbreak has seen the cinema sector suffering massive financial losses, with tens of thousands of screens worldwide forced to close and many cinema employees facing personal hardship after losing their jobs or being temporarily furloughed.
Those hundreds of thousands of people that make our sector so special must be our foremost concern, given that they are at the core of delivering the big screen experience to their communities. The swift and effective response offered by many national governments in providing them and other similar frontline workers appropriate support, is therefore hugely welcome. The range of approaches including deferred business taxes, wage support, unemployment compensation, loans and loan guarantees, rent support and general rescue packages to help with fixed costs and the relaxation of state aid rules, has been truly inspiring.
The Coronavirus knows no borders. With different regions experiencing varying levels of severity, it is crucial that each territory uses all of the means at its disposal to deliver the most effective response to the unparalleled challenges we face.
But there is also a need for a collective response.
For its part, the Global Cinema Federation is committed to working with national and international institutions and partners through the weeks and months to come to ensure that cinemas survive this testing time and once again become the vibrant home of culture and community that they always have been.
We are all in this together. It is crucial that the entire industry unites in rallying against the threat to our collective well-being and that we tackle the crisis head-on for the sake of our audiences as well as our workers, the lifeblood of the industry.
This extends, of course, to our partners throughout the film ecosystem. We are extremely grateful to the studios, directors and everyone involved in the motion picture industry that has shown their faith in cinema exhibition over the past weeks. Their invaluable support has certainly not gone unnoticed.
That response epitomises precisely what makes the cinema-going experience so special; the collective, shared experience of watching films on the big screen encapsulates a spirit of community – something we must keep firmly in mind at the present time.
By supporting each other now, we will return stronger than ever when we are again able to welcome back the many millions of devoted film fans who miss the Big Screen every bit as much as we do.