Drive-in Cinema in the Works for Jamaica

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The Palace Amusement Company Limited (PAL) has obtained a license for premises at Dominica Drive in New Kingston for the operation of a drive-in cinema.

It is, however, unable to say when operations will commence.

The company, via a notice on the Jamaica Stock Exchange on Friday, said opening is subject to directives from the government for the operation of cinemas and places of entertainment during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

For the year ended June 30, 2020, Palace amusement made a net loss of $131.25 million, of which $82.19 million occurred in the June quarter under COVID conditions.

Year-to-date revenues were $904.18 million with only $5.01 million of inflows in April to June quarter.

This compared to $1.1 billion for the full year ending June 2019, with revenues of $337.99 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019.

The company had reopened its cinemas on July 8, following the advisory from the government that cinemas and places of entertainment could reopen.

The island subsequently entered the community spread phase of the COVID-19 pandemic with numbers of those infected rising by 300 per cent since July 5, to over 3,000 individuals infected.

The Government of Jamaica, on September 7, announced new curfew hours running from 8 pm to 5 am, resulting in reduced operating times for the cinema chain.

At mid-year Palace disclosed that COVID-19 has had a significant impact on its operations and performance.

Management said that since March 14, 2020, all cinemas were closed in conformity with guidelines by the Government of Jamaica to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the country.

Closure of the cinemas resulted in significant losses over the subsequent three and a half months, with the company noting that it had substantial standing charges to maintain.

Palace sought interim financing from its bankers to help meet some of its financial obligations.

Further, all cinema staff, totaling almost 300 persons, were laid off.

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