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Meridian theater tells State it laid off its employees: first to make WARN notification in wake of COVID-19

The Sundance Company
COVID-19 Idaho

Cinemark, which owns the Majestic Cinema in Meridian, told the State of Idaho it laid off all its employees.

The large Texas-based theater chain purchased the Majestic and several other locations around the NW last year. Cinemark operates more than 4,500 screens across the US.

“Due to unforeseen circumstances, including mandatory closure orders in some locations and recommendations of health and safety officials concerning steps to mitigate the spread of COVID19, Cinemark… made the incredibly difficult decision to close our movie theater locations in the state of Idaho,” the letter from Cinemark’s Sid Srivastava said.

Though the letter refers to multiple locations, Cinemark only operates the Majestic. It said it permanently laid off 45 people – including 17 ushers, 15 concession workers, nine assistant managers, three box office workers, and a maintenance worker. The layoffs came on March 26th without prior notice to the employees.

Nationally, Cinemark is struggling under its debt load and closed cinemas nationwide. The chain’s CEO and board of directors will go without pay, and corporate employees took a pay cut and saw furloughs, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

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Cinemark informed the Idaho Department of Labor under the terms of the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, or WARN, rules. WARN generally requires companies to let the government know 60 days in advance of any so-called plant closing or mass layoffs. In emergency situations, the 60 day period can be waived.

So far, Cinemark represents the only WARN notice filed to the State of Idaho since the COVID-19 pandemic began affecting the local economy.

During the Great Recession, scores of businesses made layoff notifications, including MPC Computers, Micron Technology, Tamarack Resort and others.

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