I rise today to recognize local cinemas and to speak to the difficulties they are facing in this pandemic. In Kingston, our local independent cinema, the Screening Room, is a gem of our community. It’s the last independent downtown cinema that we have, and it’s a place where I’ve had many fabulous evenings with families and friends.
But these small businesses, like so many others, are facing unprecedented financial hardship, if not outright closure, because of the inadequate supports available to them as well as other artistic venues. These are all venues that have worked hard to operate within the conditions put forward by public health, but who have simply seen their attendance and revenues drop too much to be able to continue.
My office has received many emails from a campaign named Save My Cinema, which are advocating for several reasonable supports, including working with all levels of government to extend the commercial tenant eviction ban for six months so that they can get through the last quarter of this year and the first quarter of next year, and still have the projectors playing movies when we get to the spring and we, hopefully, are through this pandemic.
Aside from the government providing additional supports, I want to encourage everyone here and everyone out there who can afford to do so to buy a gift certificate. Make it a stocking stuffer. You don’t have to go to the cinema right away, but make that purchase now to try to give them some of the revenue they are going to need to get through this winter. And then they will have a welcoming space for you when you go back in the spring.