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A Guzzo cinema sign on a storefront in Montreal, on June 18, 2019.Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

Quebec is offering $4.6-million in grants to the province’s struggling cinemas, which have been shut for months because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Culture Department said Friday the money will also help ensure the Quebec-based movies that filmed over the summer have a place to be shown when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

Quebec says 76 theatres, with a total of 469 screens, could benefit from the subsidies.

Cinemas that showed more Quebec films in 2020 compared to 2019 could receive up to 20 per cent more funding.

Two associations representing cinema owners welcomed the announcement, saying the money will help their members cover some of the heavy losses they’ve incurred since March.

Eric Bouchard of the Corporation des salles de cinéma du Québec says he’s confident moviegoers will flock back to cinemas once lockdown measures end.

Association of Quebec Cinema Owners president Denis Hurtubise says the funds had been expected for several months.

Mr. Hurtubise says theatres play a vital role in the life of a film, adding that the entire industry will benefit from the grant money.

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