Theater Owners, Will Rogers Foundation Create $2.4 Million Fund for Cinema Workers

A view of the Regal Loews Cinemas movie theater - Getty - H 2020
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More than 150,000 employees at movie houses across the country have been laid off amid unprecedented closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The National Association of Theatre Owners and the Pioneers Assistance Fund have created a $2.4 million emergency grant program for cinema employees impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 150,000 workers have been furloughed or laid off since the vast majority of theaters across the U.S. closed two weeks ago.

The new grant program will provide a stipend to any theater workers who meet specific criteria. In Phase 2 of the program, assistance will be expanded to a larger group of people who work in the motion picture industry, in the event the current crisis continues for an extended period of time.

Basic eligibility requirements for the Pioneers Assistance Fund COVID-19 Emergency Grant (Phase 1) include having worked in the theatrical exhibition business for a minimum of five years.

"We encourage all members of the motion picture industry who have the ability to make a much-needed contribution today," NATO and the Pioneers Fund said Monday in a statement. "Your donation will support film industry members who are struggling to mitigate the personal and professional impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.

Under the $2 trillion relief package signed into law last week, restrictions have been loosened regarding charitable deductions.

The Pioneers Assistance Find is one of three key programs making up the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation.