In March, the pandemic caused movie theaters to close in Alberta. Several of them reopened in June, but they are suffering heavy losses, and still suffer today. This is the case of independent cinema Canyon meadows, in Calgary.
“We have been open almost every day for twenty years. It was shocking to have to stop all operations immediately, ”said Nathalie Hunter, owner of Canyon Meadows Cinema in southeast Calgary. During this period, his only source of income was selling take-out popcorn.
Its independent cinema suffered massive losses. Nathalie says that “during the three months of closure, we made less than one percent of the money we would normally have made”. Since the reopening, its turnover has reached just 18% of that before the pandemic.
The financial problem doesn’t just happen at Canyon Meadows. The Cineplex company estimates losses of around $ 100 million, CBC News reported in mid-August.
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Measures that repel customers
After a long wait, the cinemas were finally able to reopen in June. There are, however, several restrictions. Markers on the floor indicate the six-foot space to be kept between each visitor, many seats are not available, each person is forced to wear a mask unless they are eating. The rooms must now be cleaned after each session.
All of these precautions are certain to reduce cinema attendance. “We have lost at least 70 percent of customers,” says Nathalie Hunter, of the Canyon Meadows cinema.
The pandemic has also forced a decrease in the number of employees of this small independent cinema. About sixty at the start of the year, only about ten still work there. “It was very emotional,” says Nathalie. I had to fire people I had known for years. ”
The pandemic has not only affected movie theater owners and workers. Consumers have been robbed of a source of amusement.
“It was definitely top entertainment for me,” says Xavier Barbini, a 15-year-old French-speaking student. I was very excited to go listen to The Batman and Suicide Squad 2, but they were both more than a year out of date. It’s too bad. ”
“I used to go to the movies once or twice a month, but it’s been five months since I’ve been there. It’s hard to bear ”testifies Antony Dushime, another 15-year-old French-speaking student.
Although they both have access to Netflix, they much prefer the cinema experience. “The group dynamic is just more fun,” says Antony. There is interaction, and it’s much better than sitting on the couch at home. “
This spring, many young people took up the Gazette Challenges offered by Francophonie Jeunesse Alberta (FJA). As a reminder, participants had to imagine and submit the front page of a Franco-Albertan newspaper in 2030.
There is no doubt that Le Franco will still be relevant on this date. The four winners were announced at the end of May. Simon-Pierre Poulin, the newspaper’s director, offered each of them a paid internship.
This is how last week Rosie Goulet, 14, and Axel Genereux, 15, learned how to run ink on your community newspaper.
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