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Palace Amusement readies to reopen after near four-month closure

Palace Amusement Company has informed that it is preparing to reopen its cinemas across Jamaica as the Government moves to lessen COVID-19 restrictions.

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

The company, in note to the Jamaica Stock Exchange, said it has suffered significant impact to its operations since it had to close its locations in keeping with measures introduced to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Palace said the reduction in its operations saw its losses increase sharply. “Closure of the cinemas has resulted in significant losses over the last three and a half months. Meanwhile, we have had substantial standing charges to maintain.”

“It is our desire and intention to re-open for business once we get the go-ahead from the Government.”

– Palace Amusement Company

However, Palace said it has secured financing from its bankers to meet some of its financial obligations.

That notwithstanding, it had to lay off all its cinema staff, approximately 300 persons in total. “It is our intention to bring back as many of our cinema staff as possible once we are able to commence operations.”

Referring to the Health Ministry’s move to reopen theatres and cinemas, Palace said it is now training its staff for the eventual 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.”

Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Desmond McKenzie, yesterday (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.