Movie theaters in the UK will not be able to reopen their doors before July 4, the UK government said in its plan to bring business back from COVID-19.
Cinemas are classified as “leisure facilities” in the document published Monday and are included as part of “Step Three” of the reopening plan alongside pubs, hair salons, food service providers and places of worship.
However, these “higher risk” businesses hoping to reopen need to meet the COVID-19 Secure Guidelines, which are expected to be unveiled this week.
“Some venues which are, by design, crowded and where it may prove difficult to enact distancing may still not be able to re-open safely at this point, or may be able to open safely only in part,” the government says in its plan. “Nevertheless the Government will wish to open as many businesses and public places as the data and information at the time allows.”
The document warns that some inherently crowded venues will not be allowed to safely reopen, and other venues might go through phased and pilot reopenings in order to gauge their ability to adopt new guidelines.
“We have made clear to the UK Government – and the devolved Governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – that, on the basis of our understanding of the safeguards that will need to be in place before cinemas can safely open, most venues will be ready to do so by the end of June. The suggestion that this might be considered around 4 July for cinemas in England is therefore welcome,” a representative for the UK Cinema Association, which operates 90% of the country’s theaters, said in a statement.
They continued: “But we recognize that there are a host of wider public health considerations which mean that that may not be possible, and we will of course respond accordingly. Whenever cinemas are able once again to re-open, it is clear that all venues will need continued Government support until such time as business returns to something approaching normal levels of activity.”
“The Government will also monitor carefully the effects of re-opening other similar establishments elsewhere in the world, as this happens,” the document reads. “The Government will establish a series of task forces to work closely with stakeholders in these sectors to develop ways in which they can make these businesses and public places COVID-19 Secure.”
The UK has seen over 223,000 coronavirus cases and just over 32,000 deaths from the disease.