After nationwide closures that sparked appeals from out-of-work staff members affected by venue shutdowns, the Alamo Drafthouse has stepped up to provide a $2 million emergency relief fund for furloughed employees.
Furloughed team members who work for corporate-owned theaters will receive a supplemental two weeks’ worth of pay, and the Austin-based company has pledged health coverage for staff through the end of April. The announcement comes after founder and CEO Tim League informed corporate staff members that approximately 80% of workers would be furloughed, with a small core still standing.
The fund was created in partnership with the Emergency Assistance Foundation, and seeded with $2 million from their Alamo Community Fund. A donations portal is now live here, and any studio partners, suppliers, or other affiliates or organizations looking to make donations can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications for furloughed staff are expected to be opened by next week.
Additionally, as of Monday, Alamo Drafthouse paused all memberships and monthly billing for active season pass subscriptions, set to resume once the theaters reopen. Anyone looking to un-pause their current season pass subscription, or start a new one until theaters open, will have 100% of their proceeds donated to the Alamo fund.
“We’re doing everything we can to help get our teams through the furlough period while making certain there will be a stable company to return to,” said Tim League in a statement. “The coronavirus pandemic is an existential threat to all cinema, but particularly independent and arthouse theaters. That’s why I’m asking for our friends and partners in the film and hospitality industries — if you believe companies like ours are vital to the welfare and strength of your businesses, please help us keep our people safe, strong, and ready to get back to work.”
Roughly half of Alamo Drafthouse’s 41 locations are Alamo-owned and operated, including all theaters in Austin, New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Kansas City, Raleigh, New Braunfels, and San Antonio. This means that locations managed by franchise ownership groups will rely on their own resources to handle closures.
The closure of Alamo locations and the consequences for staff are yet another casualty of the pandemic affecting the industry from top to bottom, as theaters nationwide close their doors until further notice.