Cinemas across England will be allowed to open from July 4 in keeping with the easing of coronavirus lockdown measures. News on Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland remains unconfirmed.
A staggered film schedule will allow for fewer crowds in lobbies, while rearranged seating options will allow families and individuals to remain socially distanced during screenings.
Ahead of today’s (June 23) announcement from Boris Johnson confirming the July 4 date, Cineworld had said it would be reopening all of its venues (including Picturehouse branches) nationwide from July 10.
Since cinemas were shuttered in the UK in March, multiplexes and independent venues alike have been working towards reopening for Christopher Nolan’s new film Tenet.
While a number of summer blockbusters, including Wonder Woman 1984 and Pixar’s Soul, have been pushed back to later in the year, Tenet was only delayed by two weeks, from July 17 to July 31.
However, last month a survey carried out by the Independent Cinema Office revealed over 200 independent film venues felt unable to reopen with social distancing measures in place, saying September would be more realistic.
Following today’s news, Phil Clapp, chief executive of the UK Cinema Association said in a statement: “Today’s announcement is hugely welcome not just to cinema operators in England, but also we know to the many regular cinema-goers who can’t wait to get back to enjoying the big screen experience.
“We welcome in particular the acknowledgement implicit in today’s statement of the work the sector has undertaken in reassuring ministers that cinemas in England can reopen safely for audiences and staff members alike.”
He continued: “While discussions with the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland continue, today is undoubtedly a significant step forward for the UK cinema sector.”