Coronavirus: Cineworld, Odeon, Vue close all UK cinemas 'until further notice'

Gloucester, United Kingdom - September 08 2019:  The frontage of the Cineworld Cinema, advertising Fast and Furious, on Merchant's Street
Cineworld in Gloucester. (Getty)

Cinemas across the UK and Ireland are shutting down due to the coronavirus.

Major chains including Odeon, Cineworld and Picturehouse, and Vue have announced plans to close their doors for the foreseeable future, following updated guidance on the Covid-19 outbreak.

Cineworld and Picturehouse are shutting all UK outlets starting from Wednesday while outlets in Ireland will close on Tuesday.

Cineworld Group CEO, Mooky Greidinger said: “At Cineworld and Picturehouse, 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.

“We deeply value our cinema-loving customers and have no doubt we will be serving everyone again as soon as possible with a full slate of Hollywood blockbusters and the best of independent films and content.”

UK cinema chain Odeon announced it will be closing its UK cinemas from Tuesday.

The chain announced that “ODEON cinemas are closed until further notice” and pledged to refund any customers who had pre-booked tickets online.

Vue was the latest cinema chain to shut down its operations across the UK and Ireland.

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All 91 of the company's cinemas will close from Tuesday until further notice, in line with the Government's advice on the Covid-19 outbreak.

Tim Richards, founder and chief executive of Vue International, said: "Since the first news of the Covid-19 outbreak, we have been doing everything we can to provide a high-quality, enjoyable and safe big-screen experience for our customers.

"However, in line with the UK Government's latest public health advice we will be closing all our 91 cinemas in the UK & Ireland from today, March 17, until further notice.

Darlington, England - September 11, 2016: VUE Cinemas sign and entrace, at the Feethams Complex in Darlington. Restaurants can be observed at the side of the building.
VUE Cinemas sign and entrace, at the Feethams Complex in Darlington. (Getty)

"As you would expect, we are also doing our part by putting employment policies in place so that our staff are protected and are not penalised financially.

"We want to wish all our customers and employees well during these difficult times. Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to welcoming you back at one of our cinemas soon."

The closures come after Boris Johnson on Monday unveiled unprecedented peacetime measures to try to control the spread of Covid-19.

They were announced as the death toll of people with coronavirus in the UK reached 55.

A sign in the door of an Odeon cinema in South Woodford, London, which has closed due to coronavirus. On Monday Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on people to stay away from pubs, clubs and theatres, work from home if possible and avoid all non-essential contacts and travel in order to reduce the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
A sign in the door of an Odeon cinema in South Woodford, London, which has closed due to coronavirus. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)

In the first of his daily Number 10 press conferences, the prime minister called on people to stay away from pubs, clubs and theatres and to avoid all non-essential contacts and travel, while those who live with somebody who is ill should stay home for 14 days.

The BFI Southbank, the screening complex operated by the British Film Institute, said it was closing "effective immediately".

A tweet said: "It's with great regret that, due to the rapidly evolving Covid-19 pandemic, and following Government's updated advice, we've taken the decision to close BFI Southbank effective immediately.

"All forthcoming events & screenings are now cancelled or postponed."

Boutique London cinema Genesis remains open and is offering cinemas tickets for £3.50 “until all this blows over”.

The move comes after theatres in the West End and around the UK closed on Monday as part of stringent measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The Society Of London Theatre – which represents hundreds of theatres in the capital including the National Theatre, London Palladium and London Coliseum – and UK Theatre said the decision was "not taken lightly".

The Royal Shakespeare Company also announced its three theatres will close following the government's advice.