As the coronavirus pandemic continues to squeeze the entertainment industry, Alamo Drafthouse has laid off an unspecified number of employees, the company has confirmed.
Reports emerged Wednesday evening that the Austin-based movie theater chain had enacted job cuts and other workforce-related changes. The company confirmed in a statement to the American-Statesman that some employees had been let go: "As we’ve looked at the road ahead, it’s become increasingly clear that many positions at Alamo Drafthouse would need to be eliminated, changed, or refocused. This is a devastating step to take. It would be impossible to quantify what these Alamo Drafthouse team members have collectively contributed, and we hope that once things have stabilized, we’ll be able to bring many of them back."
When asked by the Statesman, representatives for Drafthouse declined to confirm the number of employees affected across the company or in Austin. A source told film news outlet IndieWire, which first reported the layoffs Wednesday, that "there were more than 80 on the corporate side alone, not including personnel such as projectionists, event managers, or local theater managers."
On Twitter, some said that they were among those affected.
Yesterday I, along with many others who were originally furloughed, was officially laid off from Alamo Drafthouse. I very much enjoyed my time there, but I stand proudly alongside those let go, an extremely wonderful group of humans who were the lifeblood of the company.— Mike Sampson (@mjsamps) July 1, 2020
Yesterday, I was forced to quit my job at Alamo Drafthouse. Other team members are sharing positive memories and stories - unfortunately for me, those are few and far between, which is actually quite a feat as I loved what I did, but those I worked for didn't love me.— Tanner Agle (@TannerAgle) July 1, 2020
Exactly 6 years ago, I took this photo on my first full day of training at Drafthouse. Today I was laid off. And yeah, that hurts, but man, I am grateful for the memories and the people I have met. It’s a wonderful and long chapter in my life that’s seen me through a lot. pic.twitter.com/q2oQCJx9yZ— Bridget Garraway (@bridgetgarraway) July 1, 2020
When Drafthouse closed its theaters nationwide in March amid widespread pandemic shutdowns, it furloughed virtually all of its theater staff members and about 80% of corporate staff members. The company set up an emergency relief fund, seeded with $2 million from its Alamo Community Fund, for those workers on March 19.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott allowed movie theaters to reopen at limited capacity on May 1, though Drafthouse has yet to take advantage of the order. Since then, cases of COVID-19 and related hospitalizations have skyrocketed across the state, including in Austin. Last week, Drafthouse released its safety plan for the eventual reopening of its theaters. Co-founder and executive chairman Tim League said in a statement that the company hopes to reopen "one or two" locations in early July as "learning labs."
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