Ster-kinekor to cut 236 jobs, close nine cinemas. Image via Facebook/Liberty Promenade Shopping Centre

Lockdown casualty: Ster Kinekor enters voluntary business rescue

Ster Kinerkor’s woes began in March 2020 when lockdown was first implemented.


Ster-kinekor to cut 236 jobs, close nine cinemas. Image via Facebook/Liberty Promenade Shopping Centre

South African movie franchise Ster-Kinekor confirmed on Friday 29 January that it had been in talks about voluntary business rescue proceedings since Wednesday.

The company said in a statement that the “COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent economic lockdown” had taken its toll on the franchise. Business rescue would now be implemented in a bid to facilitate the company’s rehabilitation”.

Ster Kinekor business rescue

Business took a knock in March 2020 when lockdown was implemented. Prior to that, the franchise welcomed “millions of movie goers” every year. All cinemas were order to shut between March and August 2020.

“Since then, the company has been operating under various forms of restriction, including curfews and mandatory limits to the number of guests per auditorium”.

Apart from closing its doors for most of the year, the industry at large suffered under lockdown. The continued lack of new content from March to August meant Ster Kinekor’s cash flow challenges kept piling on.

The Ster Kinekor board therefore holds the view that business rescue provides a “safe harbour […] in terms of providing a legal moratorium.” as it will “assist the business to return to profitability”.

Cinemas remain open… for now

For the time being, Ster Kinekor cinemas will remain open to the public until further notice. Ster Kinekor’s acting CEO, Motheo Matsau explained that customers’ safety remains priority while the cinema remains open for business:

“All cinemas have instituted strict COVID-19 protocols, which mean temperature checks and hand sanitising on arrival and inside the auditoria and mask wearing as appropriate”.

In addition to the above, “every two seats are kept vacant for social distancing”.

COVID-19 protocol at cinemas

Some of the safety measures implemented at Ster Kinekor cinemas included additional cleaning between screenings, over and above the cinema’s already high cleaning standards.

Ster Kinekor said on their COVID-19 operating procedures page that they sanitise the cinemas before and after each show and increased cleaning times between every show to ensure all seats and surfaces are safe. The cinema also took a financial hit thanks to the occupancy protocol.

“Each cinema will be limited as per government regulations to ensure safe social distancing whilst enjoying the movie. We will ensure that some seats and rows in the theatre are blocked and are not utilised to maintain safe social distancing”.

Screening times were also adapted in order to spread out movies across a day, which meant fewer guests in the foyer at any one time.