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Area theater hit hard by coronavirus shutdown

Area theater hit hard by coronavirus shutdown

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The closing of the North Haven Cinemark theater because of the pandemic meant that 87 employees were laid off.

In a letter last month to First Selectman Michael Freda, the theater notified the town of its temporary closing by state order and the layoffs. 

There are three other Cinemark theaters in Connecticut — Milford, Enfield and Manchester. A total of 295 Cinemark employees, many part time, lost their jobs. 

“Essentially what happened here is that COVID-19 has had a catastrophic effect on theaters throughout the state of Connecticut,” Freda said. 

Cinemark is working toward a midsummer opening date that is contingent on health and safety regulations. Currently, theaters are on the list of businesses that can reopen June 20.

“It is important to note that the theatrical exhibition’s return to ‘normalcy’ may span multiple months, driven by staggered theatre openings due to government limits, reduced operating hours, lingering social distancing and a ramp up of consumer comfort with public gatherings,” said Caitlin Piper, who is in charge of Cinemark’s publicity. 

Cinemark is hoping to be able to rehire those that lost their jobs, Freda said.  

“They hope to hire many of the individuals back when the theaters reopen but that’s undetermined when,” Freda said. “… they are so far away from even reopening right now.”

jsimms@record-journal.com203-317-2208Twitter: @jessica_simms99