ST. CLOUD -- Just like on Broadway the Paramount Theater in downtown St. Cloud has gone dark since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Bob Johnson is the Executive Director for the Paramount Center for the Arts. He says they've been pretty much closed down since March 15th. He says he's expecting it to be a long time before they'll be allowed to fill-up their 804 seat theater with people again, however, when it's allowed, they're looking at the possibility of hosting some smaller shows.

With social distancing in place, with the right sanitation procedures in place, can we bring in smaller groups of people and do performances for smaller groups?

Johnson says it could also take some time before people are comfortable coming back to public spaces like the Paramount.

He says they've lost about $500,000 to $600,000 in gross revenues so far due to canceled shows, but after expenses are taken out profit margins are usually quite slim in the arts.

He says they have over 30 part-time staff that were furloughed immediately.

We laid those folks off almost immediately after March 15th. We gave them a very small severance package, which is highly unusual in arts organizations, but we're trying to support our employees because we want them back.

Johnson says 13 full-time people have had their hours reduced by half. He says there were 36 scheduled events between now and August many of which have already been canceled.

One thing the Paramount was able to hold was their annual high school art exhibition, which they did virtually instead of in person.

There are still some summer camps and arts classes on their schedule for this summer which remain up in the air.

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