MovieTowne has announced it will be closing its Chaguanas branch permanently after being in operation for over 10 years.
In a statement to the media, MovieTowne’s owner Derek Chin said, “I wish to inform you that we will be closing our MovieTowne Chaguanas branch for good as the pandemic along with MovieTowne’s landlord has made it uneconomical for us to continue.”
According to Chin, the government’s restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 contributed to the decision.
He said that the extended shutdown and the continued uncertainty has made it extremely difficult to continue. He said the decision was taken in the interest of keeping MovieTowne’s overall business in a survival mode.
“We felt this was the best alternative for us,” he stated.
The Chaguanas MovieTowne, located in Price Plaza, is one of five run by the Daichin Group of Companies, of which Chin is the chairman.
The other operations are in Port-of-Spain, C3 Centre in San Fernando, Lowlands, Tobago, and Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana.
Chin said in the statement that MovieTowne’s other Trinidad and Tobago locations will reopen when the restrictions are relaxed.
“We wish to thank our many Central and Chaguanas patrons for the support over the last 10 years,” he stated.
The Chaguanas branch has been home to a cineplex of eight large screens, offering 2D and 3D cinema technology.
However, unlike the flagship Port-of-Spain branch, the Daichin Group does not own the entire compound, to offer dining, liming, shopping and live entertainment.
Cinemas were among the earlier closures when the Government introduced COVID-19 restrictions in March, because of the risks involved with the congregation of people.
In June, with a big reduction in the spread of COVID-19 cases, the government allowed cinemas to reopen. Most cinemas, however, offered old movies since the international distribution of new shows was also affected by COVID-19.
However, with new cases springing up in August, the State opted to once again close movie theatres.
They have remained closed until now and operators will only know if they can reopen their doors, when the Prime Minister reports to the country again on October 24.
Chaguanas Mayor Faaiq Mohammed described the announcement as a sad day for the borough. Responding to Guardian Media via WhatsApp yesterday, Mohammed said that the development is ‘troubling’.
“We lost a good source of entertainment for families and friends. It’s troubling to see businesses close knowing many will be unemployed as a result. It is disheartening that I heard this news and we will have to examine other areas to ensure the sustainability of other businesses within the Borough. In addition to the effects of COVID it was reported that there is a private issue between Mr Chin and the Landlord so I wish to say no more on the matter,” Mohammed said.
Meanwhile, 58 additional people have been infected with COVID-19.
This was according to yesterday’s clinical update from the Ministry of Health. According to the release, this brings the total number of positive cases in the country to 5,101.
However, the total number of active cases is 1,753 while the total number of deaths remained at 90.
The statement said that 119 people remained hospitalised while 37 are in step-down facilities, 46 in state quarantine facilities and 1,597 are in home self-isolation.
Thus far, 3,252 people have recovered from the virus.
The ministry reminded that the daily update usually reflects samples taken during the last three days and not the last 24 hours.