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Santikos Entertainment furloughs employees amid COVID-19 pandemic

‘It’s a hard decision we had to make... but we’re going to be okay after all of this.’

Photo from YouTube

SAN ANTONIO – Santikos Entertainment announced earlier this week that it will furlough its employees as COVID-19 continues to spread across the city of San Antonio and the nation.

Santikos theaters closed their doors on March 19 when the city’s mandatory closure of non-essential businesses went into effect. CEO Tim Handren said Frida that the company just doesn’t have the funds to continue the payroll, given that the closure will probably last a couple more months..

Handren announced the furlough in a YouTube video on Wednesday.

“It’s with a heavy heart that I have to tell you that we don’t have a way to keep you on the payroll right now," said CEO Tim Handren in the video. “You’re not fired. You still haven’t lost your job. We just can’t pay you for the next two and a half, three months or longer. That’s a huge drain on the company.”

Santikos employees were paid two weeks in advance, up to April 2, so that they would still have access to their company benefits through the end of April, according to Handren.

Handren said he hoped the company could apply for the payroll protection plan as part of the federal stimulus package offered in the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and. Economic Security Act); however, businesses with more than 500 employees are not eligible, and Santikos employs more than 500 people.

Handren, who also serves as the mayor of Boerne, also announced during the video that he would also not be taking any pay right now.

“You are on furlough, but so am I. I’m also not going to be taking any pay during this period of time,” Handren said. “I figure, if that’s what I have to do to you all then that’s what I have to do."

The company anticipates to reopen theaters by mid to late June and Handren said he hopes by early July, business should be back to normal. However, this could change pending on the spreading of COVID-19.

“It’s a hard decision we had to make, but we’re going to be okay after all of this. We’re all going to be okay," Handren said.

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.

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