UK cinema association 'disappointed' with government re-opening timetable

(Credit: Getty)
(Credit: Getty) (Image Source via Getty Images)

The UK's leading association for cinemas has said that it's 'disappointed' in its placing in the government's timetable for re-opening the country as coronavirus lockdown measures ease.

While schools will re-opened in March in the first phase, followed by outdoor sports and limited social meetings in the second, cinemas and theatres will be not be allowed to open again until 17 May.

Once they do re-open, they will still have to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Read more: The best movie deals of the week

The UK Cinema Association's chief executive Phil Clapp said: “While - given the exemplary record of cinemas in delivering a safe big screen experience before this latest lockdown - we are disappointed not to have an earlier opening date than mid-May, it is good at least to have some confirmation.

“We look forward to similar announcements across the rest of the UK.”

Drive-in cinemas, which have seen a rise in popularity this year in the absence of the multiplexes, will be allowed to open earlier, on 12 April.

People watch the film
People watch the film Joker from their cars at a drive-in in Blackheath, London, July, 2020 (Credit: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez) (Dylan Martinez / reuters)

Cinemas in the UK have been closed for the best part of a year, since the first national lockdown was imposed last March.

Some screens re-opened over the summer, but were closed again as coronavirus cases began to rise again into the autumn.

The UK Theatres Trust welcomed the news of the re-opening, but also noted the effects that the continued closure will have on smaller venues.

“Theatres Trust welcomes the Prime Minister’s announcement of a ‘not before’ date of 17 May for theatres to reopen with social distancing and capacity limits, but we recognise that this will be subject to the COVID data nearer the time,” said Jon Morgan, director of the trust.

“We also recognise that this means that many theatres, who cannot operate viably with lower audiences under social distancing, will need to wait longer before reopening.”

Currently, among the movies planned for a summer release in the UK include Marvel's Black Widow and Top Gun: Maverick.

Watch: Surge in holiday bookings following lockdown easing 'road map'