Cinemas across the UK are temporarily closing down due to coronavirus

Tuesday, 17th March 2020, 1:12 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th March 2020, 1:13 pm

The UK’s three biggest cinema chains have announced that they will be closing their doors in co-operation with the country’s social distancing efforts.

The news comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson advised the public to avoid gatherings, while stopping short of ordering businesses themselves to close.

Here’s everything you need to know about the cinema closures.

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Which cinemas are closing?

Most of the UK's movie theatres will soon be shut, with each of the major chains having now announced their temporary closure.

The country's biggest cinema chain, Cineworld, announced on Tuesday 17 March that their venues (more than 100 in total) will all be shutting their doors.

A statement from the company said, “We are committed to providing safe and healthy environments for our employees and guests and have therefore made the difficult decision to close our cinemas in UK and Ireland until further notice.”

Cineworld’s Irish cinemas will close on 17 March, with the rest of its UK venues shutting down the following day. As the business also owns the Picturehouse chain of boutique-style cinemas, these will all be closing as well.

Another major chain, Odeon, will also be going dark. Odeon has over 120 venues across the UK and Ireland. A statement from the company on Twitter confirmed that “following government guidelines, Odeon cinemas are closed until further notice.”

The UK’s final big chain, Vue Cinemas, has also confirmed that it will be closing down for a while. Tim Richards, CEO of Vue International, said, “Since the first news of the Covid-19 outbreak, we have been doing everything we can to provide a high quality, enjoyable and safe big screen experience for our customers.

"However in line with the UK Government’s latest public health advice we will be temporarily closing all our 91 cinemas in the UK & Ireland from today, March 17, until further notice.”

Are independent cinemas also closing?

Many independent cinemas, such as the Glasgow Film Theatre and Manchester’s Home cinema, have also temporarily closed.

Other independent theatres have chosen to remain open with reduced capacity, for the time being, including the Showroom in Sheffield and Nottingham’s Broadway.

However, the group which represents the industry, Cinema UK, has said that “most UK cinema sites” will close in the next few days.

When will cinemas re-open?

Given that both Cineworld, Odeon and Vue have all closed “until further notice”, there is currently no clear picture of how long cinemas will remain shut.

A spokesperson for Odeon said, "We will continue to monitor the situation and look forward to welcoming back guests as soon possible."

Cineworld’s chief executive, Mooky Greidinger said, "We deeply value our cinema-loving customers and have no doubt we will be serving everyone again as soon as possible with a full slate of Hollywood blockbusters and the best of independent films and content."

Glasgow Film Theatre has announced via Twitter that it hopes to reopen on 17 April, but acknowledges that this decision will be “subject to the situation at the time”.