A Perthshire cinema faces a £30,000 black hole in funding after being told its insurance policy for business interruption does not cover it against the government shutdown for coronavirus.
The team at the community run Birks cinema in Aberfeldy have been notified by their insurance broker that they will not receive any compensation for loss of earnings caused by the outbreak.
The clause in the RSA Insurance document excluding the cinema from cover is a 37-word paragraph in a 178 page document which stipulates that they are only covered against diseases arising on the premises.
John Freeman, chairman of Birks, says the situation will leave the community owned cinema fighting for its future as bosses continue to pay 20% of the wages of their furloughed staff as well as overheads on the art deco building.
Mr Freeman said: “The main concern is getting back open. We’re depleting all our resources in the short term.
“We hoped the insurance would cover us in this situation. If this isn’t business disruption I don’t know what is.
“It’s written there in black and white but it leaves us in a difficult situation.
“I really expected the insurance would cover against this.”
He said it would cost about £30,000.to get the venue back up and running.
“That’s the cost of starting up and having staff and possibly not having any films or people not coming back to the cinema yet,” he said.
The cinema has benefited from a business support grant but in the absence of insurance cover it has turned to donations from the community to keep going.
John said: “As our doors remain closed for the foreseeable future, we will need to rely on our community to help to save the cinema for the future.
“Unlike many other cinemas and arts organisations we are a community cinema and a charity so closing our doors has a much wider impact than not being able to show some great films.
“In the run up to Easter, when we would have expected many full houses, we are asking everyone we know to help us keep the cinema afloat for the future.
“A donation of between £50 and £100 would make a huge difference to our target that we need to achieve to open again”
To support Birks cinema by making a donation visit www.givey.com/share?charity_id=birkscinema