Alamo Drafthouse Sets Aside $2 Million For Furloughed Staff Members

The theatrical exhibition business is suffering greatly in the wake of unprecedented movie theater closures around the country due to the coronavirus, and many theater workers have been furloughed as companies try to stay afloat during this economic crisis. But Alamo Drafthouse is trying to step up and help out: they've announced an emergency relief fund for its furloughed corporate-owned venue and headquarters staff, seeding it with $2 million and accepting donations to help keep their employees covered. Get the details below.

Like so many other businesses around the United States, Alamo Drafthouse has had to make the heartbreaking decision to furlough a huge percentage of its staff members (about 80%). Earlier this month, we heard from some Alamo Drafthouse employees in New York City that their official health insurance coverage was going to run out at the end of the month, and the theater chain was offering to co-pay COBRA insurance for them for the month of April. Now, the company is taking action: according to a press release, "furloughed team members who work for corporate-owned theaters will receive a supplemental two weeks' worth of pay, and their health coverage will be covered through the end of April."

Recognizing that many staff members may have critical short-term needs, founders Tim and Karrie League directed that a new relief fund be created in partnership with the Emergency Assistance Foundation, and seeded with $2 million dollars from their Alamo Community Fund. The Alamo Family Fund's donations portal is now live at Studio partners, suppliers, and any other organizations interested in making larger donations may also reach out to Applications for the furloughed company-owned staff members in need are expected to be opened up next week.

"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," says Tim League, Alamo Drafthouse CEO. "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."

I'm not an economist or a small business owner, so I honestly have no idea about the hard decisions that companies like Alamo are having to make as this crisis reshapes our world. But I'm glad to see that they're taking the initiative to try to do something to help – even if it is only for about half of their theaters. (Roughly half of Alamo Drafthouses are corporate owned, while the other half "are managed in their respective areas by franchise ownership groups, and are relying on their own resources to handle the closures.") Speaking of helping, if you're in a position where you can donate, it sounds like your help would be greatly appreciated. One way to help: keep your Season Pass subscription active, because while that service has been suspended until theaters re-open, everyone who keeps their payments rolling in will be donating directly to the Alamo Family Fund.

News of their fund comes on the heels of yesterday's announcement by the National Association of Theatre Owners, in which they pledged $1 million to theater employees and asked the government for a movie theater bailout.