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photo credit: (Credit: file photo)
After taking it on the chin for more than a year, the operator of a local movie theater sees a slow return to normality. 
Though he's in the business of make-believe, Rialto Cinemas owner Ky Boyd doesn't expect a dramatic turn starting Tuesday.
Despite restrictions ending, Boyd, who runs a multiplex in Sebastopol along with two others in the East Bay, has plenty of empty seats left to fill, though slightly fewer with each passing week.
From a business sense, he had little choice when movie theaters were allowed to re-open a month and a half ago---at reduced capacity.
"Reopening on April 30th was an opportunity to lose more money than we were losing when we were closed, but you have to start somewhere."
Boyd says federal aid, has been a roller coaster. PPP loans allowed him to keep most employees on payroll, but only for a couple of months at the crisis's outset.
Small Business Administration loans, approved by Congress, were capped during the Trump administration, limiting what was available. 
"We literally had to launch a go fund me campaign, and our Go-Fund-Me campaign continues to this day. What's really going to be the solution for us is the Shuttered Venue Operating Grant."
And those grants, he says, remain bottled up in the federal bureaucracy.
"It's really tough, I mean, we've had to work with our vendors to make partial payments, or delay payments, it's been a very, very challenging time and the help that the government has promised us has not arrived."
Still, the show must go on, and Boyd says as the weeks progress, potential movie patrons seem to agree, with a few more turning up for screenings each week.
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