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Scottsdale-based Harkins Theatres, others close in response to pandemic

(Harkins Theatres Photo)

PHOENIX – Scottsdale-based movie chain Harkins Theatres and two other national cinemas will suspend operations for at least two weeks because of coronavirus concerns.

Harkins made the announcement Monday evening, based on pandemic guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and the White House.

In a tweet, the family-owned and operated business said the shutdown would last through March 31.

AMC, the largest chain in the world, said it will stay closed six to 12 weeks. The chain has about 1,000 theaters in 15 countries. More than 600 sites are in the United States.

Previously, AMC had said it would limit audiences to less than 50 people for every screening to stay in keeping with social distancing guidelines.

Regal Cinema, the national’s second largest theater chain, planned to close its theaters Tuesday. The chain has one location in Arizona, in Gilbert.

Harkins, which was founded in Tempe in 1933, has 34 locations in five states.

President and CEO Mike Bowers said in the press release that employees would be paid during the leave.

“The health and well-being of our loyal team and guests is and always will be our highest priority,” Bowers said.

“Make no mistake, we will be back soon, bigger and better than ever,” he said.

Bowers finished the letter by thanking moviegoers for their support over the years.

“Please look out for one another,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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