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Cineplex to close theatres nationwide in response to COVID-19 – CTV News

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TORONTO —
Canada’s largest movie exhibitor Cineplex Inc. says it’s closing all of its 165 theatres nationwide until at least April 2 in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The chain also was to temporarily shutter entertainment complexes the Rec Room and Playdium effective Monday night.

Chief executive officer Ellis Jacob says Cineplex leadership has closely monitored the escalating spread of COVID-19 in Canada, while taking measures that included cleaning surfaces more frequently and selling fewer tickets at each screening to encourage social distancing.

“The health and safety of our employees and guests is paramount,” Jacob said in a statement that outlines the steps the company had already taken.

“The time has come for us to do more.”

Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu urged the public on Monday to cancel gatherings of more than 50 people, which added pressure on businesses to make broader moves to lock their doors to the public.

Cineplex represents about 75 per cent of the Canadian film exhibitor market. Closing its theatres would effectively eliminate public movie screenings in many communities.

Landmark Cinemas, the country’s second-largest movie chain with 46 theatres, followed shortly after Cineplex’s announcement saying that it would close all of its locations across the country, which span Western Canada, Ontario and the Yukon.

A number of smaller movie chains and independent movie houses had already announced plans to close their cinemas in recent days.

Uncertainly around how the spread of COVID-19 will affect the movie theatre business has been a top concern for the global film industry. North American ticket sales were already trending lower as the array of low-cost entertainment options, such as streaming services, keep more audiences at home.

But Cineplex faces a bigger challenge as a $2.8-billion deal to be acquired by Cineworld PLC hangs in the balance. The agreement to be purchased by the London-based company is still subject to various conditions, including Investment Canada Act approval, that must be met by June 30.

Cineplex offered investors an update on the process, acknowledging that certain conditions of the acquisition haven’t been met yet, and that COVID-19, and government reactions, have made “business planning uncertain for the exhibition and location-based entertainment industries.”

One of the takeover conditions is that Cineplex keeps its debt below $725 million.

“Cineplex is managing its business to reduce expenses in an amount necessary to offset declining revenues,” the company said.

“The possibility of prolonged closures could impact the ability of Cineplex to mitigate the related revenue decline and satisfy the debt condition or other of the remaining conditions.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 16, 2020.

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No winning ticket for Friday night's $70 million Lotto Max jackpot – CTV News

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TORONTO —
No winning ticket was sold for the $70 million jackpot in Friday night’s Lotto Max draw.

However, five of the 19 Maxmillions prizes of $1 million each were won by ticket holders in the Prairies and in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The jackpot for the next Lotto Max draw on Apr. 7 will again be $70 million and there will be 20 Maxmillions prizes up for grabs.

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Demand Destruction Will Decimate Oil Prices – OilPrice.com

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Demand Destruction Will Decimate Oil Prices | OilPrice.com

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    I have been warning since January that the long-term ramifications of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on the oil industry could be significant and long-lasting. In March we saw significant impacts on price and demand. What we don’t know is how long this crisis will last.

    But, I believe we are in the midst of an existential crisis for the oil industry as we know it. This will not be the same industry after this dark period ends. Only the strongest companies are going to survive the financial pain that lies ahead.

    There are many variables in this equation, and they are constantly changing. Demand is plummeting, production and prices are following, and Saudi Arabia and Russia are jockeying to hold onto market share.

    Vitol, the world’s largest independent oil trading company, has said that oil demand could slump as much as 20 million barrels per day (BPD) over the next few weeks, which would lead to an annual decline of 5 million BPD. Vitol CEO Russell Hardy said “It’s pretty huge in terms of anything we’ve had to deal with before.”

    Goldman Sachs said it expected March demand to be down 10.5 million BPD, followed by a further decline to 18.7 million BPD in April. The company noted that this deep plunge would be beyond the ability of OPEC to counteract: “A demand shock of this magnitude will overwhelm any supply response including any potential core-Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries output freeze or cut.”

    Related: U.S. Shale Ready To Fire Back In The Oil Price War

    Meanwhile, benchmark prices have temporarily settled in the lower $20s, but local prices have dropped even further. In a story that warned of the largest idling of oil wells in the past 35 years, Oilprice.com reported that last week some crude prices were trading in the $1 per barrel range

    The oil and gas sector has been crushed, and there will be a great deal of collateral damage. It’s hard to see when the sector will emerge from this crisis, or what the supply situation will be when we do. But it’s inevitable that there will be fewer players in the sector when this crisis ends.

    By Robert Rapier

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      Five Canadian banks cut credit card interest rates to ease COVID-19 impact – Canoe

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      TORONTO — Bank of Nova Scotia, Toronto-Dominion Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, National Bank of Canada and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce said on Friday they are cutting interest rates on credit cards to provide relief to customers affected by COVID-19 pandemic.

      Late on Friday, Scotiabank said it would reduce credit card interest rates to 10.99% for personal and small business clients who have been approved for, or seek, payment deferrals.

      Earlier, in separate statements, TD Bank said it will cut credit card interest rates by 50% for customers experiencing hardship, and Royal Bank said it will reduce the charges by the same extent for clients receiving minimum payment deferrals.

      National Bank will allow credit card customers to defer minimum payments for up to 90 days and reduce annual interest rates to 10.9% for these clients, it said.

      CIBC too will reduce interest rates to 10.99% on personal credit cards for users who request to skip a payment, Canada’s fifth-largest lender said. (https://reut.rs/3aHZM9Q)

      Most Royal Bank, TAD, Scotiabank and CIBC credit cards charge 19.99% interest on purchases. Most National Bank cards charge 20.99%.

      Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government had urged banks to help alleviate the burden credit card interest rates placed on Canadians. Friday’s moves are the latest in a raft of measures announced by the banks to ease the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on customers.

      Canada’s six biggest banks unveiled a mortgage-relief plan two weeks ago to allow homeowners to defer or skip mortgage payments for up to six months as businesses come to a grinding halt due to the pandemic.

      National Bank said it will refund additional interest accrued on the deferred mortgage payments. The lender will also waive fees for transfers and stop payments on checks and pre-authorized debts, and will not charge overdraft fees on checking and high-interest savings accounts, it said.

      Since the mortgage-relief plan was announced, the banks have received nearly half a million requests that have been completed or were being processed.

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