On Wednesday, it was announced AMC Theatres, once of the biggest movie theater chains in the country, had furloughed all 600 members of its corporate staff as well as CEO Adam Aron. This is a stunning decision coming at the end of a month which saw AMC on the frontlines, contending with growing public health concerns over the spreading coronavirus pandemic. Earlier in the month, AMC Theatres tried to ensure public safety by announcing social distancing precautions to help limits the number of moviegoers in one theater before later announcing they would shutter theaters for six to 12 weeks to help combat coronavirus.
Now, just a week or so later, AMC Theatres has made the stunning decision to furlough its highest-ranking staff members, per The Hollywood Reporter. This decision comes on the heels of AMC furloughing approximately 26,000 employees across 634 locations in the U.S. and Canada as well as 1,000 international locations late last week amidst the coronavirus pandemic concerns. Employees will still retain their company health benefits during this time as well as active employment status. Variety reports the furlough was implemented “to preserve cash and ensure the chain can reopen when the world has recovered from the coronavirus crisis.”
A statement on AMC’s decision reads:
“At this time, AMC is not terminating any of its corporate employees, however, we were forced under the circumstances to implement a furlough plan, which is absolutely necessary to preserve cash and to ensure that AMC can reopen our doors once this health crisis has dissipated. The furlough plan calls for reduced working hours at reduced pay, or no working hours at no pay, for the hopefully short period of time when AMC’s theatres are all closed. This action impacts every corporate AMC employee, including all those at the highest executive levels and including AMC’s chief executive officer.”
For those who may not know, to “furlough” someone is not the same as as lay-off. In a furlough situation, a person is simply put on an extended leave of absence Where a lay-off is more permanent, a furlough is temporary, with the understanding a person will return to work when it is deemed possible.
AMC’s statement also included a message of optimism, with the company writing in their statement: “As we all know, these are unprecedented times. AMC is doing everything possible to ensure that we can welcome back both our associates and our guests as our theaters reopen.”