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The pain of cinema closures isn’t just economic | James Greig | Opinion

The pain of cinema closures isn’t just economic | James Greig | Opinion

There’s a cinema in south-east London called Peckhamplex, which is one of my favourite places in the world. Set on the bottom floor of a car park, it’s a kind of faded 1990s dreamworld. The colour scheme is lurid, the typography can only be described as “funky”. At first glance, the aesthetic looks like it could be an affectation, marketed to affluent Time Out readers as a “retro-style cinema” selling gourmet popcorn and themed £13 cocktails with names like “The Mia Wallace”. But in fact it’s looked this way since it opened in 1994. Even better than the way it looks, however, is the price. Every film costs £5 and that’s reflected in the demographics of the people who go there. It’s a place that serves the community, but not in a lofty or improving way: sometimes people just want to take their kids to a Marvel film without spending too much money.

Earlier this week Peckhamplex announced that it would be closing temporarily, citing low levels of admissions – a local story that upset a devoted local clientele. But it was the subsequent news that Cineworld (along with Picturehouse, which it owns) was also temporarily closing its doors that brought the problems facing the industry to national attention.

With Boris Johnson urging people to go to the cinema but the government offering no extra subsidies, it’s understandable that most people focused on the possible economic outcomes of cinemas closing for good, the job losses and the knock-on effects on restaurants, bars, or commercial rents. Making the economic case is important (and I do think the government should help the industry financially) but I don’t think it’s sufficient: it seems like the current iteration of capitalism would take the end of everything that makes life bearable in its stride,

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Restaurants, small businesses face closures without COVID-19 relief

Restaurants, small businesses face closures without COVID-19 relief

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After shutting down negotiations over a new COVID-19 stimulus package, President Trump said he would pass a standalone bill for $1,200 stimulus checks.

USA TODAY

Restaurants and small businesses across the USA say they face dire situations without additional federal relief to offset the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Concerns have grown as another aid package for businesses and struggling Americans appears to be in limbo.

President Donald Trump quashed additional relief discussions Tuesday until after the  election Nov. 3. Several hours later, Trump softened his stance, saying he’s open to approving $1,200 payments to Americans and limited programs to support the airline industry and small businesses.

As many as one in 20 U.S. small businesses face possible closure without additional assistance, the International Franchisee Association estimates.

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“36,000 franchise small businesses won’t survive the winter without additional relief,” Matt Haller, the IFA’s senior vice president of government relations and public affairs, said in a statement sent to USA TODAY. “Trading a broad, bipartisan bill now for the vague goal of something better after the election is like quitting a game in the third quarter. American small businesses want the government to work as hard as they do to support their employees, families and communities.”

As of the end of August, 32,700 franchised businesses have closed in the USA and lost 1.4 million jobs, the IFA said. About one-third of those businesses are closed permanently, and about 40% of the job losses are permanent, estimates the group, which represents restaurants, gyms, hotels, salons and spas, day care and other businesses and services.

Bloom’s Pizza in West Bridgewater, Mass., is “closed for business.” (Photo:

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