Due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, huge numbers of cinemas across the UK and Ireland have now decided to shut their doors in the name of public health. This comes after AMC Theatres shut down for up to 3 months. Regal Cinemas and others have also shuttered their doors. Now is the time to go dark in order to protect public safety.

In the UK and Ireland, major cinema chains including Cineworld, Odeon and Picturehouse, as well as BFI Southbank, the screening complex which is operated by the British Film Institute, have now stated that they will be closing their doors with immediate effect in order to best slow down the spread of COVID-19.

A statement from Cineworld described it as a difficult decision, but that ultimately this action needed to be taken in order to best protect the public and their staff.

"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 is the UK and Ireland's largest chain by market share and currently operates over 90 venues. The Cineworld chain also owns the Picturehouse circuit, which operates smaller cinemas with boutique-style programming. The chain has been in the news recently due to worries surrounding coronavirus and concerns over stumbling share prices.

Odeon, the UK's second-largest cinema operator also gave a statement via social media detailing why they have come to the decision to close for the foreseeable future.

"Following government guidelines ODEON cinemas are closed until further notice. If you have pre-booked tickets online, these will be refunded automatically. For any specific questions, please contact our Guest Services Centre. "

BFI Southbank, which is located in London, also gave a statement expressing their deep regret at having to close, with all upcoming events now canceled.

"BFI Southbank events and screenings cancelled or postponed. It is with great regret that, due to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic, and following Government's updated advice on 16 March, we have taken the decision to close BFI Southbank effective immediately, and all forthcoming events and screenings are now cancelled or postponed."

This mass closure of cinemas across the UK and Ireland comes in the wake of further government advice for people to avoid mass gatherings, including attending bars, restaurants, and other public venues.

The ongoing COVID-19 outbreak has caused a vast amount of disruption to the everyday lives of the public, as well as to the entertainment industry. The cinema closures come following the postponement of several high-profile releases including A Quiet Place Part II, Mulan, Fast 9 and the James Bond movie No Time to Die, a franchise which is very popular in the UK. There has also been much chaos backstage with movies such as The Batman, The Matrix 4, and Marvel's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Rings now delaying production until the situation calms down. This news comes to us courtesy of Deadline.

Jon Fuge at Movieweb
Jon Fuge