Germany has announced that they will be shutting down movie theaters again. France will more than likely make the same announcement in the next few hours. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has ordered all movie theaters to close down beginning November 2nd, as the global public health crisis continues to spread. Italy has already started a new phase of lockdown as an alarming spike continues to spread across Europe. The CEO of Germany's main theater organization HDF Kino says she was "stunned" by the new closures and warns that theaters could be "driven to ruin."
The new theater closures in Germany will last for an initial 4 weeks before reconsideration. Bars will also shut down, while contact among citizens will be limited to two households, or 10 people outdoors. Germany is going through a massive surge, recording daily infection rates as high as 14,000 this week, which is much higher than they were in March when this whole thing started. Angela Merkel warns of "very, very difficult months ahead." Public health officials have been warning the United States of the very same thing.
The HDF is fighting against Germany's decision to shut everything down again, claiming, "not a single COVID-19 infection associated with going to the cinema is known worldwide." The HDF is also warning that this could be the end of the moviegoing experience in Europe as we know it. "We no longer understand the constant ups and downs of the measures taken. For six months we have been working in cinemas with detailed security concepts, large rooms, modern ventilation systems and only a 25% capacity utilization," says the HDF in a statement. "The cinemas take on a great responsibility for their visitors and yet it is of no use to them."
As more countries across Europe start to go on lockdown again, it's really only a matter of time before movie theaters in the United States are forced to close down too. Cases have been spiking at an extreme rate for the past few months, eclipsing numbers from March as the flu season kicks in. A lot of theaters, most notably in Los Angeles and New York City, have yet to even open their doors since the public health crisis started.
For now, the world will be keeping a close eye on Europe to see how the second round of closures goes. If all goes well, things will slowly start to get better over there within the next four weeks, which will bring us to December. If things don't change, it's going to be a very rough holiday season. Movie theaters in North America have been urging congress for relief funds, but all talks have been suspended until after the Presidential Election, which is next Tuesday, by President Donald Trump. For now, we'll just have to wait and see how the next few weeks unfold. Deadline was one of the first outlets to report on Germany closing movie theaters again.