Cinema chains close as Coronavirus measures take effect
- The List
- 18 March 2020
All the major UK cinema chains are closing
Cinemas across the UK will be closing for business for the foreseeable future after the latest UK Government advice was to avoid social contact and most entertainment venues.
Cinema UK, the trade body representing over 90% of the country's cinema operators, confirming the coordinated move, issued the following statement:
"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 the thousands who work in the sector, many of them young people, are helped during what will be an exceptionally challenging period for them, and that cinema venues across the country are supported to overcome what for many will represent an unprecedented challenge to their existence."
The Odeon chain released a short statement on its website confirming some refunds would apply automatically.
"Following Government guidelines ODEON cinemas are closed until further notice. If you have pre-booked tickets online, these will be refunded automatically. For any specific questions, please contact our Guest Services Centre. We look forward to welcoming you back soon."
Cineworld posted similar sentiments on its web site, but included some guidance for its Unlimited membership scheme:
"We will be closing all Cineworld cinemas across the UK from tomorrow (Wednesday, 18 March) and in Ireland from today (Tuesday, 17 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.
We are committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for all of our employees and guests. We deeply value our movie-loving customers and their health and wellbeing is our number one priority during this difficult time. We look forward to welcoming you back as soon as possible to enjoy a full slate of film releases.
You will be able to get updates on the status of our cinemas via the Cineworld mobile app and online at cineworld.com.
We sincerely wish good health for you and your families during these uncertain times."
They also gave information on their refund policy:
"If you booked online, all bookings will be automatically refunded. There's no need to contact us. If you booked tickets in a cinema, you will need to ring our call centre on 033 0333 4444.
If you are paying for your subscription monthly, your next monthly payment will be charged as normal but you will receive the credit of this payment once our cinemas reopen. If we need to keep the cinemas closed for longer than one month, your subscription period will be extended accordingly and any monthly payments will be suspended until our cinemas reopen.
Alternatively, if you have paid for your membership annually upfront, your membership will be extended by the period of closure (with no further charge) and you will be able to continue enjoying your membership for that extended period once our cinemas are open again.
When we re-open our cinemas, we'll also be pleased to offer each of our Unlimited members one free ticket to a standard 2D performance so you can treat one of your friends to a Cineworld visit."
Vue continued the theme, also mentioning support for staff affected by the closures:
"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 venues in the UK & Ireland from today, March 17, until further notice.
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.
Any pre-existing bookings will be refunded automatically in the month of the scheduled screening. Please continue to follow us on our social channels for the latest updates.
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."
Picturehouse, a group of 26 cinemas across the UK, echoed the sentiments:
"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.
The safety and well-being of our customers, our members and our staff is our utmost priority at Picturehouse and we are committed to providing a safe and healthy environment within our cinemas.
All Picturehouse customers who pre-booked tickets online or on the phone will be emailed and then automatically be issued a refund within 14 days.
Customers who purchased tickets in-person should contact and our Customer Care team will be able to help you.
Picturehouse Memberships will retain their value and we will be contacting all members in due course with further information.
We deeply value our cinema-loving audience and staff and their health and wellbeing is our number one priority during this difficult time. We look forward to welcoming our Picturehouse customers back through our doors as soon as possible."
Showcase cinemas put out a statement explaining why they had to close their cinemas. They also mentioned the precautions they had already been taking and provided details of their refund procedure:
"Following Government guidelines, National Amusements, owner of Showcase Cinemas, has announced that it is temporarily closing all its cinemas in the UK from close of business on Tuesday 17 March. All tickets purchased in advance for future shows can be refunded by contacting the cinema directly on the relevant telephone number, daily between 12pm-8pm.
Throughout the Coronavirus outbreak, our staff and customers' health has been and will be our top priority. During the last few weeks, we have implemented COVID-19 prevention staff training, increased cleaning of surfaces and introduced new staff/customer hygiene practices. We were also one of the first cinema chains to introduce a 50% reduction in audience capacity to allow for social distancing during shows.
Showcase Cinemas has worked very hard to provide the best moviegoing experience for our customers for over 30 years in the UK. Our industry has weathered many difficult moments through the decades. Through these unprecedented times, we come back to the same conclusion – people need and want to go to the movies. However, now is the time for public safety and for us to press pause on moviegoing. Be safe; and rest assured as we all navigate through this crisis, Showcase Cinemas will be here to welcome you back when it's time to go to the movies!
We look forward to welcoming you to Showcase Cinemas soon."
Had a show/concert/gig cancelled and not sure what to do now? Visit our article where you will find information given by the major ticketing sites.
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