Odeon has confirmed that it will begin to reopen its cinemas in England from next week.
It comes as the government continues to ease coronavirus lockdown measures, with prime minister Boris Johnson confirming that screenings can take place from July 4 provided they are “COVID secure.”
Odeon are set to reopen 10 cinemas in England from July 4, with a further 88 following in the UK from July 16. Odeon Trafford Centre, Odeon Luxe Birmingham Broadway Plaza, and Odeon Luxe Epsom will be among the first to open.
The cinemas in Camden, Wimbledon and Covent Garden will be the first central London locations to open on July 13, with Islington, Richmond, Swiss Cottage, Tottenham Court Road, South Woodford and Haymarket following on July 16.
They will open with new social distancing rules, including a staggered film schedule that will allow for fewer crowds in lobbies, as well as fewer seats made available for sale so that families and individuals can remain socially distanced during screenings.
Guests can also expect safe queuing measures, frequent cleaning and sanitiser stations, contactless ticket checks and the introduction of ‘grab and go’ pre-packaged food and drinks reducing staff and customer interaction.
Odeon will no longer be accepting cash, but have increased their contactless limit in order to help cinema-goers buy safely.
For more information on the social distance rules Odeon will be putting in place, visit their official website.
Tickets for screenings are on sale now, with films such as 1917 and the 4K re-release of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back being shown in cinemas before new releases like Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, which was originally delayed by two weeks, arrive on July 31.
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, Carol Welch, Odeon’s managing director for UK and Ireland, said: “We are excited to confirm that from 4 July, our UK cinemas will begin reopening. We’ve carefully planned every step of our guest journey and put safety measures in place that will enable our highly trained colleagues to provide a controlled and safer cinema experience for all our guests.”
She continued: “New measures include social distancing in our auditoriums and foyers, additional cleaning regimes, and a request to book tickets online prior to arrival. We would like to thank our colleagues and guests for their patience during this period, and we can’t wait to welcome guests back to big screen entertainment and a safer cinema experience.”