Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020

When can cinemas reopen in the UK?

CINEMAS across the UK have been allowed to reopen their doors since July 4 when some lockdown restrictions eased.

But some are yet to reopen as they put in place coronavirus restrictions. Here is what we know.

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When will cinemas reopen?

Cinemas in England have been able to reopen since July 4, but many have stayed shut due to operating costs.

Big theatres have reopened with social distancing and cleaning measures, but the film industry is still getting back on its feet after lockdown.

All must ensure that they are following Covid-19 secure guidelines.

Some drive-in cinemas where you can sit in your car to watch a movie have also reopened.

New regulations which came into force on August 8 made face masks compulsory in cinemas.


Odeon reopened ten of its cinemas in England on July 4 and has been opening others gradually since then.

It has been showing new releases such as Disney's live action version on Mulan, as well as remastered classics.

The company has put safety measures in place such as limited tickets and enhanced cleaning.

Bosses are staggering show start times to reduce queues and operating safe queuing measures with floor markings and cinema host support.

Screens are not accepting cash so ask customers to book online.


Vue began reopening screens on August 7, starting with ten venues.

A further 38 will open their doors on August 21, followed by another 42 by the end of the month.

New safety measures at the cinema chain include online booking, socially distanced seating, staggered film times and enhanced cleaning.

Staff are wearing PPE and customers are required to wear masks unless you are eating or drinking.


Cineworld cinemas in England and Wales have reopened.

Screens in Ireland, Jersey and Scotland will open their doors on August 26.

There are additional safety measures in place including contactless payment, distanced seating and additional cleaning.

In line with new government guidelines, face coverings must be worn in the cinema but can be removed when eating and drinking.


Like Cineworld, Picturehouse screens reopened on July 31 and follow the same guidance, which is unsurprising given that both are owned by the same firm.

In line with guidelines theatres will adhere to social distancing measures and hand sanitiser will be available, among other changes.


Showcase opened most of its cinemas again on July 4 and is playing classics and popular films from the past year.

A number of locations will reopen on August 21.

Like other chains, several new measures have been implemented including air purifying systems to kill airborne viruses.

Staff are temperature checked before their shift and a non-chemical anti-viral spray is being used on every seat after every show, and at the end of each day.


Curzon started reopening venues from July 17, when they reopened in Canterbury. 

London venues followed on July 24 when Curzon Mayfair and Curzon Richmond partially reopened with safeguarding.

The website states: "We will begin a staggered reopening plan for our other venues through the rest of July and August."

Everyman cinemas

All Everyman venues are now open, or will be reopening by the 21st August.

Face coverings must be worn, unless eating or drinking, and a reduced number of seats are available for each screening.

All dates for the reopening of individual cinemas appear to be subject to change as the government and cinemas monitor the virus.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he will slam on the brakes of the lockdown easing if it looks like the UK is heading for a second wave.

How will social distancing work?

Cinema firms have announced some new guidelines to try to keep people apart.

Most cinemas are operating at reduced ticketing to allow for social distancing.

Show times will also be staggered to reduce the number of people queuing or waiting in the foyer.

Customers will have to book online and it will be contactless payments at the tills – which will only sell pre-packaged food and drinks.

Cineworld has updated its booking system to allow family and friends to sit together, while ensuring social distance between groups in screens.

Staff at cinemas across the UK have been wearing full PPE where needed and strict cleaning schedules have been implemented.

Perspex screens have also been installed at tills to help protect customers and staff.

And hand sanitiser stations are in place around most venues for public use.

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