COVID-19 dealt another massive blow for cinemagoers as Cineworld announced they were due to close all cinemas across the UK and Ireland from 9 October.
The Cineworld announcement comes after a resurgence of COVID-19 cases and a reintroduction of extensive restrictions across the nation to tackle the virus, with three-tiered local restrictions being implemented in COVID hotspots.
Bosses of the franchise confirmed the closures on 5 October – less than three months after the cinemas reopened their doors again since the country locked down.
Hundreds of new releases have been either cancelled, postponed, or delayed until 2021 in response to the pandemic, with cinemas gaining less revenue from March to July under the nationwide lockdown. Disney’s Mulan was one of the films affected, with the film being moved to the streaming app Disney+ after its March release was delayed.
It comes after the release of the new Bond instalment, No Time to Die, was pushed back until April 2021 after the film’s release was pushed back twice throughout the crisis.
5,500 jobs are at risk as a result of the closures, with staff asked to accept redundancy in the hope that they will be able to rejoin the franchise when cinemas reopen.
A spokesperson for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: “We understand cinemas need an incoming stream of new releases to show. We are supporting cinemas by establishing a UK-wide Production Restart Scheme, costing £500 million, to help get productions back up and running again.”
The government has allowed cinemas, especially independently owned cinemas, to continue streaming new release films through the £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund, in an attempt to help the battered industry tackle the financial implications of the public health crisis.
Cineworld is one of the UK’s largest film distribution chains, with a record of 308 million people visiting in 2018.
Words by Cameron Jull
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