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UK cinemas may re-open in July, government confirms

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UK cinemas could provisionally reopen by July 4 as part of new measures introduced by the government in steps to ease the current coronavirus lockdown.

The government published its latest plan today (May 11), which includes a timetable for lifting restrictions in three steps.

  • Read more: All the films and TV shows suspended due to coronavirus

As part of ‘step three’, businesses such as cinemas may open no sooner than July 4 depending on a determination from a series of five tests, which were announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson last night (May 10).

“The ambition at this step is to open at least some of the remaining businesses and premises that have been required to close, including […] leisure facilities (like cinemas),” it says.

coronavirus cinemas
Some cinemas in Texas have reopened (CREDIT: Alamy Stock Photo)

The document notes that venues should “also meet the COVID-19 Secure guidelines”, and that if they are “by design, crowded” and would prove difficult to enact social distancing, they “may still not be able to re-open safely at this point, or may be able to open safely only in part”.

The government also says that it will “carefully phase and pilot re-openings” to “test their ability to adopt the new COVID-19 Secure guidelines”. Additionally, it will “monitor carefully” the effects of re-openings of similar venues around the world and establish “a series of taskforces” to work with stakeholders in the sector to develop ways to make the venues “COVID-19 Secure”.

UK cinema chains closed back in March in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, while most TV and film projects have had production suspended or postponed — you can read a full list here.

As part of measures announced by Johnson, the new alert system will feature five levels — level five being “the most critical situation” that would overwhelm the NHS. He said that the country is at level four and was now in a position to “move in steps to level three.”

Among its five tests to move the UK forward in reopening are the NHS being able to provide sufficient care across the country, a sustained and consistent fall in daily deaths, the rate of infection decreasing, the ability to meet the demand for testing and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and adjusting measures not risking a second peak that overwhelms the NHS.

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