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Movie House cinema owner's fury after he finds out at 11th hour his screens must close

Movie House boss Michael McAdam said they have received no direct information from government over the new restrictions to come in on Friday.

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Michael McAdam, managing director of Movie House Cinemas in Northern Ireland (Liam McBurney/PA)

Michael McAdam, managing director of Movie House Cinemas in Northern Ireland (Liam McBurney/PA)

Michael McAdam, managing director of Movie House Cinemas in Northern Ireland (Liam McBurney/PA)

A cinema group owner says he has received no direct information over whether they can open amid the new coronavirus restrictions.

A raft of new restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus are set to apply across Northern Ireland from Friday night for four weeks.

Pubs, restaurants and cafes will only be allowed to offer takeaway and delivery services, hair and beauty salons have to shut while gyms will face additional measures.

Movie House owner Michael McAdam said they had believed cinemas could open this weekend as normal.

However he said he learned via media reports on Thursday that they may not be able to.

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Michael McAdam, managing director of Movie House Cinemas in Northern Ireland, in his cinema in Glengormley, demonstrating the new temperature reading machine that customers use as they enter the theatre (Liam McBurney/PA)

Michael McAdam, managing director of Movie House Cinemas in Northern Ireland, in his cinema in Glengormley, demonstrating the new temperature reading machine that customers use as they enter the theatre (Liam McBurney/PA)

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Michael McAdam, managing director of Movie House Cinemas in Northern Ireland, in his cinema in Glengormley, demonstrating the new temperature reading machine that customers use as they enter the theatre (Liam McBurney/PA)

“We have been given no direct information at all from the Government; as we were not included in the information released by Stormont yesterday we believed that we could open this weekend,” he said.

“There was no mention whatsoever about leisure. But tonight’s media reports based on a press release from the Executive Information Office stated that cinemas among other leisure facilities were included in the closures.”

Mr McAdam added: “We want to do the right thing and follow the guidelines but how can we do that when we haven’t been given any information.

“Our staff are relying on us, we have films due to open tomorrow but we haven’t had any communication whatsoever from the Stormont Executive.

“We understand that this is a difficult time for Government and again we do want to follow whatever rules are put in place but I would like to know when did the Stormont Executive actually agree this and why we are only learning about it at the eleventh hour through the media?”

The Executive Office has been contacted for a response.

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