Cinema chains Cineworld, Vue and Odeon have confirmed they are shutting all their UK screens amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Cinema UK, which represents the industry, said: “The priority now is to ensure that thousands working in the sector are helped during an exceptionally challenging period for them, and that UK cinema venues are supported during what, for many, represents an unprecedented challenge to their existence.”
Odeon has more than 120 cinemas in the UK and Ireland, while Cineworld has 100, and also runs 24 Picturehouse sites. The BFI’s Southbank complex has also closed indefinitely.
An Odeon spokesperson said: “In line with the latest government guidance on Covid-19, we are temporarily closing our cinemas. We will continue to monitor the situation and look forward to welcoming back guests as soon possible.”
Cineworld Group chief executive Mooky Greidinger said: “At Cineworld and Picturehouse 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. 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.”
Tim Richards, founder and chief executive 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 closing all our 91 cinemas in the UK & Ireland from today, March 17, until further notice. As you would expect, we are also doing our part by putting employment policies in place so that our staff are protected and are not penalised financially. We want to wish all our customers and employees well during these difficult times. Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to welcoming you back at one of our cinemas soon,” he added
A host of high-profile movies have seen their release date pushed back several months as a result of the panademic – including A Quiet Place 2, Mulan, Fast & Furious 9, The New Mutants and James Bond: No Time to Die.