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Company that owns Chuck E. Cheese's files for bankruptcy protection

The restaurant industry has been hammered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The parent company of the Chuck E. Cheese restaurant and amusements chain has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection.

CEC Entertainment Inc. made the announcement Wednesday, saying it is taking the move to "strengthen its balance sheet" and place the company in the "best position ... for long-term success."

The company has five locations in the Twin Cities – in Blaine, Burnsville, Edina, Maple Grove, and Woodbury – as well as restaurants in St. Cloud and Rochester.

CEC however says that all of its locations will continue to reopen in line with federal, state or local COVID-19 guidelines. Currently in Minnesota, restaurants are allowed to open for dine-in service at 50 percent capacity.

"As of June 24, 266 company-operated Chuck E Cheese and Peter Piper Pizza restaurant and arcade venues had safely re-opened, in accordance with all CDC, federal, state and local guidelines," the company said.

"Subject to ongoing negotiations with its landlords, the Company expects to maintain ongoing operations in these locations throughout the Chapter 11 process, providing dine-in, delivery and carry-out services, hosting birthday parties during dedicated hours, and supporting fundraisers and events in the coming weeks and months.

"The Company also plans to continue opening additional locations each week, steadily bringing more employees back to work."

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The coronavirus pandemic has inflicted a huge toll on the nation's restaurants and bars, most of which had to temporarily shut down in the immediate wake of the outbreak, though restrictions have loosened since then.

However, there remains trouble on the horizon after some states that opened early and with looser restrictions, such as Texas, Arizona, and Florida, have experienced significant spikes in cases and hospitalizations in recent weeks.

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