Today Picturehouse, Odeon and Cineworld all announced they are closing until further notice.
Picturehouse, which is closing from Wednesday 18 March put out a statement on their blog: “It’s with great sadness, that Picturehouse is today announcing the closure of all it’s cinemas across the UK starting from Wednesday, 18 March 2020, until further notice. This decision was made in the light of the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and recent UK government advice, which the company has been carefully monitoring and following.” You can read the full release here, with advice on refunds.
It’s with great sadness, that Picturehouse is today announcing the closure of all it's cinemas across the UK starting from tomorrow, until further notice. This decision was made in the light of the current COVID-19 outbreak and recent UK government advice. https://t.co/S0ANQjEfjL pic.twitter.com/9ukCUyH6Zv— Team Picturehouse (@picturehouses) March 17, 2020
ODEON Cinemas also put out a statement this morning – along with one explaining what they’re doing re payments for members of its Limitless scheme – on their website and on social media. They are closing until further notice:
An important message from ODEON pic.twitter.com/tlgnL5FS84— ODEON (@ODEONCinemas) March 17, 2020
Philip Knatchbull, CEO of the independent cinema group Curzon, issued a statement on their website explaining their safety measures and that they will issue another statement soon. (UPDATE 18/3: they are closing today and moving the focus to Curzon Home Cinema.)
Yesterday UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced more measures to fight the COVID-19 outbreak, including asking people to say away from places – including arts venues – where groups gather. But as it isn’t currently an official ban on opening, venues are unable to claim on their insurance.
The UK Cinema Association (formerly the Cinema Exhibitors’ Association) represents over 90 per cent of UK cinema operators by number and market share, both single-site and multiplexes.
Today they put out a statement on their Twitter account @Cinema_UK: “Mindful of the latest scientific advice from the Government, the coming days will see the closure of most UK cinema sites. The priority now is to ensure that thousands working in the sector are helped during an exceptionally challenging period for them, and that UK cinema venues are supported during what for many represents an unprecedented challenge to their existence.”
Not all cinemas have closed – the Alhambra in Penrith (where my children and I saw, appropriately, Peter Rabbit) is at the time of writing staying open.