The UK government has published its COVID-19 recovery strategy, with cinemas given a provisional green light to re-open “no earlier than July 4.”
However, the 50-page document suggests that the re-opening of any indoor public spaces will be dependent on a reduction in confirmed cases of the virus and that the real date for those venues may be “significantly later” if infections don’t drop.
Cinemas are covered by step three of the plan, the final stage of the initial reduction of the country’s lockdown. Also covered in step three are pubs and beauty salons. The document makes it clear that any businesses that do re-open will need to adhere to the COVID-19 Secure guidelines, which at present involve distancing between individuals, enhanced hygiene and limiting numbers of people in any one space.
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Today’s announcement does not outline how specific sectors should tailor approaches to combat the virus, but the government said it would establish a series of task forces to consult with stakeholders in individual industries to create more specific guidelines.
The government also revealed today that it would be trialing “pilot re-openings” to test the ability of businesses to adopt the COVID-19 Secure guidelines.
The UKCA, which represents the interests of 90% of the UK’s cinemas, welcomed the provisional date for re-opening but cautioned that it would “respond accordingly” to the evolving situation.
“We have made clear to the UK Government – and the devolved Governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – that, on the basis of our understanding of the safeguards that will need to be in place before cinemas can safely open, most venues will be ready to do so by the end of June. Today’s suggestion that this might be considered around 4 July is therefore welcome,” said UKCA chief Phil Clapp in a statement sent to Deadline.
“But we recognize that there are a host of wider public health considerations which mean that that may not be possible, and we will of course respond accordingly. Whenever cinemas are able once again to re-open, it is clear that all venues will need continued Government support until such time as business returns to something approaching normal levels of activity,” Clapp added.
Last night, in a televised address UK PM Boris Johnson suggested that “at least some of the hospitality industry” could re-open if the rate of infections remains low, though did not offer a clear timeline.
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