UK cinemas had just been starting to recover from this year's earlier lockdown, but they have had to close down again due to new measures.
A new four-week lockdown started in England on November 5 and lasts until December 2, but that doesn't apply to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland with each country setting their own rules.
In England, it's been confirmed that once the current lockdown ends, there will be a return to the three-tier system and in any area placed in tier three, indoor entertainment venues – including cinemas – will remain closed.
Cinemas should be open in any other area under tier one or tier two restrictions.
Scotland has a new five-tier system which sees cinemas closed in areas under the highest tiers, while Wales eased restrictions on November 9. Northern Ireland will enter a new two-week circuit breaker lockdown from November 27.
However, the three biggest cinema chains – Cineworld, Vue and Odeon – have all announced plans that apply to their sites across the UK, regardless of the lockdown rules in the various countries.
(Independent cinemas will likely be open or shut depending on the lockdown rules in their respective countries, so the best bet is to contact your local independent cinema for their current plans.)
Here's the current situation with the reopening plans for each of the main cinema chains as of November 23.
Odeon has confirmed that almost all of its cinemas are "temporarily closed" and anybody who's pre-booked tickets online will be automatically refunded.
Even though Wales ended its lockdown on November 9, Odeon cinemas will remain closed due to "the current shortage of new film releases".
No reopening date has been confirmed, but it could be in early December once lockdown ends in England. However, with the likes of Free Guy and Death on the Nile being delayed, maybe the lack of releases will delay reopening.
Unlike the other major chains, Cineworld closed all of its cinemas in the UK on October 9 following No Time to Die being delayed to 2021.
The company has not announced a reopening date, but it wouldn't be until at least England exits lockdown in early December. Given that they closed before lockdown started though, it's unlikely that they'll reopen then.
In a statement, Cineworld said it was "not a decision we made lightly" and said that they'd "continue to monitor the situation closely", but noted that reopening would depend on "major movie releases" being confirmed.
"We were very proud of the fact that cinemas were open for 2 months and there was not one COVID case resulting from visiting the cinema. We cannot underscore enough how difficult this decision was," they added.
"As we have done to date, we will do everything we can to save livelihoods and the company – this is an extremely delicate and tricky balance."
This also applies to all Picturehouse cinemas as Cineworld owns that cinema chain too.
As with Odeon, Vue has closed all of its cinemas in line with the current lockdown guidelines in the UK.
That includes venues in Scotland despite the fact that the country isn't in lockdown, and as with Odeon, Vue hasn't reopened cinemas in Wales despite the country easing restrictions on November 9.
"We'll be back with the ultimate big screen experience as soon as possible," the company said in a statement, adding that any pre-existing bookings will be automatically refunded if booked online.
Showcase Cinemas has closed all of its English cinemas due to the lockdown, while its Scottish cinemas were already closed. Anybody with a booking can contact the cinema directly for a refund or swapping to a new date if a screening has been rescheduled.
The company reopened its cinema in Nantgarw, Cardiff on November 9 when the lockdown in Wales ended.
"Our industry has weathered many difficult moments through the decades, and none more so than this year. Through these unprecedented times, we come back to the same conclusion – people want and need to go to the cinema," said Mark Barlow, UK General Manager for Showcase Cinemas.
"We remain passionate about that cinema experience and we will be following the government guidance in each region very carefully over the coming weeks. We can't wait to bring the big screen experience back, and following this short intermission, as soon as we are able to do so, Showcase Cinemas will be here to welcome you."
The information in this story is accurate as of the publication date. While we are attempting to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the situation surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to develop rapidly, so it's possible that some information and recommendations may have changed since publishing. For any concerns and latest advice, visit the World Health Organisation. If you're in the UK, the National Health Service can also provide useful information and support, while US users can contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Digital Spy has launched its first-ever digital magazine with exclusive features, interviews, and videos. Access the latest edition with a 1-month free trial, only on Apple News+.
Interested in Digital Spy's weekly newsletter? Sign up to get it sent straight to your inbox – and don't forget to join our Watch This Facebook Group for daily TV recommendations and discussions with other readers.
You Might Also Like