Rialto Theater shuts down after lease expires

The Rialto Theater in downtown Three Rivers will be permenently closed after battling COVID-19 impacts. 

THREE RIVERS – After 10 years of running the Rialto Theater, Virginia Herring has closed the doors for good.

Back in early May Virginia was hoping to reopen the theater under COVID-19 measures, but decided to shut down.

“My lease goes out in July and I’m not going to renew it,” Virginia said. “I gave them my thirty day notice and I’m trying to sell all of my inventory right now. The best thing for me to close it and tell them I was not going to lease it anymore.”

The possibility of showing older movies without a charge while relying on donations wasn’t a viable option.

“I’m already in the hole and trying to reopen with older movies that can be seen on Netflix was just not feasible,” Virginia said. “I have too much overhead. It would have to be by donation only and I don’t think it would have worked.”

The Economic Development Corporation of Three Rivers owns the property as Virginia leased the Rialto Theater business. Virginia told the EDC about leaving the business within a year back in December 2019.

“I spoke to them in December and told them I planned on leaving within a year anyway,” Virginia said. “They were looking for someone to take over and are now. If people are interested they can go to the EDC and I will help them become familiar with the film companies.”

Particular film companies are being hesitant on releasing new movies due to liability issues.

“Disney doesn’t want to put out any films due to the chance of someone getting the virus while watching one of their films,” Virginia said. “They are taking a lot of precautions with opening new movies.”

The Rialto Theater was dedicated as a historical landmark  in 2017.

Chris Filoteo is the editor at The Progress and can be reached at 830-254-8088, or at karnes@mySouTex.com.

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