Aside from restaurants, one of the hardest hit businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic has been movie theaters. Now, Regal Cinemas say they will be temporarily closing all of their theaters nationwide, including four theaters in Connecticut.

Cineworld, the parent company of Regal Cinemas, announced Monday that they would be temporarily closing all 536 outlets in the United States, and that includes four Connecticut locations in Branford, Waterbury, Pawcatuk and Waterford.

The theater chain reopened after the lock down was lifted back in July, but lack of new offerings, and a reported loss of $1.6 billion during the first half of 2020, left very few other options on the table.

According to nbcconnecticut.com, the theaters are scheduled to close their doors on Thursday and the company will be monitoring the different markets and could possibly adjust their plans depending on what's happening in the specific areas where it operates theaters.

Mooky Greidinger, the CEO of Cineworld, issued this statement Monday regarding the closings:

This is not a decision we made lightly, and we did everything in our power to support safe and sustainable re-openings in all of our markets – including meeting, and often exceeding, local health and safety guidelines in our theaters and working constructively with regulators and industry bodies to restore public confidence in our industry.

The main problem, aside from the coronavirus, for not only Regal Cinemas, but all movie theaters, is that with many theaters in major cities not able to say when the COVID-19 restrictions would be lifted, studios have been reluctant to release any of their new films to theaters, and instead, have opted for some movies to go directly to digital outlets. The news of Regal Cinemas closing comes a day after the latest James Bond film, No Time To Die, was delayed until the spring of 2021. Also, more than a dozen other blockbusters like Black Widow, Tenant, Wonder Woman 1984, and Disney's Mulan have been delayed, or bypassed theaters and went straight to digital.

Regal Cinemas is the second largest theater chain in the U.S., only AMC has more theaters across the country. Some 45,000 employees could be impacted by the closings.

Here's the Twitter post from Cineworld Cinemas initially announcing the temporary closings:

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