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Cineplex lays off 130 workers in Canada and U.S. amid COVID-19 troubles

Cineplex Odeon Theatre at Dundas Square in Toronto is shown on Monday, December 16, 2019. Cineplex Inc. says it has temporarily laid off its part-time workers after closing its movie theatres and other entertainment venues early last week.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim

Cineplex Inc. says it is laying off more than 130 workers as the company continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and a takeover deal that has turned litigious.

The Toronto-based theatre chain says workers in Canada and the U.S. are impacted by the cuts, which includes senior executives due to retire.

Cineplex says it is confident its business will recover from the COVID-19 closures but in the short- and medium-term it will focus on a smaller number of projects and priorities.

It is in the process of reopening many of its theatres that closed as the pandemic began to spread and is implementing distanced seating, reservations and additional cleanings.

Cineplex is also suing U.K.-based Cineworld Group PLC, which was due to purchase Cineplex for $2.8 billion, but walked away from the deal because of alleged material adverse effects and breaches of contract.

Cineplex has denied the claims and says Cineworld is backing away from the deal because of buyer’s remorse.