The UK Cinema Association has strongly criticised today’s Government announcement which will see cinemas in ‘Tier 3’ in England required to remain closed when the national lockdown ends on 2 December. That contrasts with the position endorsed by the Government prior to lockdown, which saw cinemas able to operate safely with some restrictions in all three tiers.
Commenting on the announcement, UK Cinema Association Chief Executive Phil Clapp said:
‘This Association and its members have worked extraordinarily hard – in consultation with Government – to put wide-reaching safeguarding measures in place in all UK cinemas.
Not only are these appreciated by audiences – with our latest industry survey suggesting that 93 per cent of returning cinema-goers reporting that they had felt safe during their visit – but more importantly have resulted in no recorded cases of COVID being traced back to any UK cinema.
As we approach Christmas, a time when families typically return to the big screen, this decision – based as it seems to be on little or no evidence of risk – will make the continued survival of many cinemas all the more challenging.
Cinemas provide vital support for good mental health at this time – much in the way that gymnasiums, which will be allowed to open it seems, do for physical health. But unlike gyms, cinemas are able to deliver an experience where people are sat socially-distanced for much of their visit in strongly air-conditioned theatres, all the while wearing face coverings.
It is heart-breaking to note that within days of Warner Bros confirming the release of Wonder Woman 1984 on 16 December – only the second tentpole release since March, Government seems needlessly to have put another barrier in place to the sector’s recovery.
We would ask that this decision is reconsidered as a matter of urgency if we are not to see further damage done to the UK cinema sector.’