Cinemas Looks to Public for Help; Scholarships Offered by City; Council Position; Record Breaking COVID-19 Day for Oregon, Lane County

Cinemas Looks to Public for Help

Many small businesses have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic but maybe none more than small theater operators across the nation.  That could not be more true in Florence where the City Lights Cinemas has been battling against 3 fronts in recent months.  Between the forced closing on two separate occasions due to executive orders, a lease battle and the shutdown of major movie distribution Michael Falter, owner of the cinemas says at first they felt they could weather the storm.

“The initial shutdown we’re like we’ll get through this, you know we’ll figure this out, we’re gonna shut everything down, we’re gonna have to lay off our staff.”

Falter said he could not forsee the impact that COVID-19 would eventually have on his business.  After a second closing and a lease renegotiation Falter was able to bring back staff under the PPP loans and begin a remodel that would enhance the theater experience and provide additional safety measures from the virus.

“We replaced every other row with tables, and we had a lot of other safety protocols so no matter where you were at with your level of concern we were very safe and it felt very safe.”

The most recent 2 week freeze was the final straw as Falter saw his funds run dry with no additional stimulus on the immediate horizon, so in a final effort to save the cinemas, he reached out to the public.

“Our goal with this campaign, the gofundme campaign is literally just to get us from here to april.”

So far the response to a request for $65,000 dollars in donations has been met with an instant response from the community as over $25,000 has poured in in less than 72 hours.  Falter says he is grateful for the support and it reaffirms his commitment to continuing in Florence.

Scholarships Offered by City

The City of Florence is joining up with Lane Community College to offer scholarships for local area workers who wish to participate in LCC’s environmental Services Aide Certification program or their Hospitality/Tourism Sector Quick Course.  The courses will certify that participants are up to date with the latest protocols on safety and sanitation.  Florence Businesses will be allowed to offer employees the opportunity to take the course and businesses will be awarded with one of three levels of participation depending on how many employees take the course…Gold, Silver or Bronze with a window badge to display. Interested participants can apply for the scholarship at the city’s website.

Council Position

If you have resided within the Florence City limits for at least a year you are eligible to serve on the City Council.  The city is currently in the process of filling a vacant position on the council left by former councilmember Geraldine Prociw.  Applicants have until 5 pm on Friday December 18th to apply.  Interviews will begin on either the week of January 11 or the following week of January 18th.  social media as well as letters to the city council have pushed for a new council member to be chosen from the recent election, but the process is specific and the application process is in accordance to the City’s charter.

Record Breaking COVID-19 Day for Oregon, Lane County

Another record day for coronavirus cases across the state as the one day total is a staggering 1225 new cases.  This include a heavy surge from Lane County who had a one day record increase of 130 cases.  The infectious cases also jumped to 416.  The latest numbers for Florence cannot be confirmed at this time due to the Lane County Public Health’s website being temporarily down, but other media sources are showing the number to be unchanged at 38.  There are 3,630 cases for Lane County based on yesterday’s report from LCPH and additional numbers from the Oregon Health Authority released last night.  Statewide  there are now 60,873 cases and an additional 20 new deaths raises that total to 808.