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Cinema chains shut doors to fight spread of coronavirus

The move comes after theatres in the West End and around the UK closed.

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The British Film Institute (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The British Film Institute (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The British Film Institute (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Cinemas across the UK and Ireland are shutting down due to the coronavirus.

Major chains including Odeon, Cineworld and Picturehouse have announced plans to close their doors for the foreseeable future, following updated guidance on the Covid-19 outbreak.

Boris Johnson has called on people to stay away from pubs, clubs and theatres and to avoid all non-essential contacts and travel.

Coronavirus
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Richard Pohle/The Times/PA)

Cineworld and Picturehouse are shutting all UK outlets starting from Wednesday while outlets in Ireland will close on Tuesday.

Cineworld Group chief executive Mooky Greidinger said: “At Cineworld and Picturehouse we are committed to providing safe and healthy environments for our employees and guests and have therefore made the difficult decision to close our cinemas in UK and Ireland until further notice.

“We deeply value our cinema-loving customers and have no doubt we will be serving everyone again as soon as possible with a full slate of Hollywood blockbusters and the best of independent films and content.”

The BFI Southbank, the screening complex operated by the British Film Institute, said it was closing “effective immediately”.

A tweet said: “It’s with great regret that, due to the rapidly evolving Covid-19 pandemic, and following Government’s updated advice, we’ve taken the decision to close BFI Southbank effective immediately.

“All forthcoming events & screenings are now cancelled or postponed.”

The move comes after theatres in the West End and around the UK closed on Monday as part of stringent measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The Society Of London Theatre – which represents hundreds of theatres in the capital including the National Theatre, London Palladium and London Coliseum – and UK Theatre said the decision was “not taken lightly”.

The Royal Shakespeare Company also announced its three theatres will close following the Government’s advice.

PA