Palace Amusement suffers big losses due to COVID-19

The Palace Amusement Company Limited (PAL) racked up a $131 million loss during the first half of its financial year.

Inside Palace’s Sunshine Cineplex in Portmore, St Catherine. (Photo: Palace Amusement)

The company’s losses come as a result of it having closed all of its theatres following government-imposed restrictions to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Palace Amusement earned $904 million in revenues compared to $1.1 billion in 2019. 

The company’s third quarter losses cancelled all of the gains it had made in the previous quarters. 

“Though efforts have commenced…to date we are not in a position to say whether this [a drive-in theatre] will become a reality.”

– Palace Amusement

For the quarter ending June 2020, the cinema operator reported a loss of $49.2 million against a profit of $43.7 million for a similar quarter in 201; with core sales having plummeted by more than 10 per cent. 

The company which operates four theatres across the island announced the closure of all its cinemas effective March 14 following government measures to control the spread of COVID-19. 

During the closure period the company’s staff complement of about 300 persons were laid off.

Palace Amusements reboot operations on July 5.

Priot to the re-opening, it said its staff was being trained for the resumption of operations to put themselves in a position “to be fully compliant when we re-open. It is our desire and intention to re-open for business once we get the go-ahead from the Government.

“Though efforts have commenced to explore the possibility of offering a drive-in cinema experience to our patrons, to date we are not in a position to say whether this will become a reality. Indeed, there has been no decision by senior management or the Board of Directors in this regard,” it said.

Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Desmond McKenzie on July 1 said cinemas, playhouses and theatres may reopen on July 5, but with only 60 per cent of seating capacity.

Other stipulations to be implemented include one-way traffic in and out, where possible, and at least two rows must be left empty to facilitate the movement of individuals across the venue.

The cinemas must also close no later than one hour before the designated 11:00 p.m. curfew.

–Denieca Brown