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Governor Reynolds announces COVID-19 movie theater relief program

Financial Assistance Available to Iowa Movie Theatres for Continuation of Operations
The DeWitt Operahouse Theater is delivering popcorn to residents while its theatre is closed...
The DeWitt Operahouse Theater is delivering popcorn to residents while its theatre is closed for showing movies due to COVID-19. (KWQC)(KWQC)
Published: Nov. 5, 2020 at 3:40 PM CST
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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG) - Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) today announced the launch of the new Iowa Movie Theatre Relief Program. The program will provide short-term relief to eligible movie theatres for the purpose of continuing or resuming operations in the context of the public health emergency.  

“Throughout this pandemic, we have worked to find a balance to protect the lives and livelihoods of Iowans,” said Gov. Reynolds. “In so many small towns and rural communities, a movie theater can be the lifeblood of main street. This program will assist movie theaters in their day-to-day operations alleviating some of the economic strain they are seeing as a result of virus mitigation and social distancing practices.”  

The Iowa Movie Theatre Relief Fund will provide up to $10,000 per screen to assist the nearly 150 movie theatres housing approximately 550 screens in Iowa with operational expenses. The state has allocated up to $5.5 million of federal CARES Act funds for the program. This statewide program, an extension of the Small Business Relief Grant program, is offered through the IEDA. 

To be eligible for a grant, the applicant must demonstrate that it:

  • Operates movie screen(s) in Iowa showing films open to all ages
  • Conducted regularly scheduled screenings in Iowa in Calendar Year 2019
  • Was subject to limitations or restrictions described in a Proclamation of Disaster Emergency issued by Gov. Reynolds on or after March 17, 2020, or it has not been able to host screenings in Iowa between March 17, 2020, and the submission date of the application for assistance through the Fund
  • Incurred a revenue loss in Calendar Year 2020 due to the pandemic as compared with Calendar Year 2019

Theatres with corporate ownership based outside of Iowa, with additional screens outside of Iowa, must use this grant for their Iowa-based screens and/or operations. Submissions will only be accepted via online submission. The application window will open on Monday, November 9, and close at 5 p.m. on Monday, November 16, 2020.

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