Cinemas given the greenlight to reopen from 4 July

Tom Butler
Senior Editor
People wear protective masks as they wait for the screening of a movie in Paris, Monday, June 22, 2020. Movie theaters are reopening across the country after three months of closure due to the COVID-19 lockdown measures. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Cinemas will be able to begin re-opening their doors from next month in the latest easing of the coronavirus lockdown in England.

Hotels, restaurants, pubs, cinemas and hairdressers can reopen from 4 July providing they are “Covid-secure” and theatres and concert halls can open but cannot stage live performances, Boris Johnson announced in parliament today.

Vue cinemas previously announced to reopen from 4 July, with a 4K re-release of Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back lined up for that weekend. Cineworld and Picturehouse will reopen from 10 July, while Odeon, Showcase and independent cinemas have yet to confirm their reopening dates.

Read more: How will social distancing work in cinemas?

Today Cineworld announced it would reopen with screenings of Back To The Future, Goodfellas, The Shawshank Redemption and Empire Strikes Back. New titles on release from 10 July include Proxima and Black Water: Abyss.

Disney’s Mulan is expected to be the summer’s first big blockbuster release, landing in cinemas on 24 July ahead of Christopher Nolan’s Tenet on 31 July.

JOHN DAVID WASHINGTON stars in Warner Bros. Pictures’ action epic "TENET," a Warner Bros. Pictures release. (© 2020 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

It is now expected there will be guidance for sections of the arts and cultural sector on how they can welcome back visitors under the latest stage of the Government’s road map for lifting the lockdown.

It could mean cinemas and museums introducing one-way systems, spaced queuing, increased ventilation, and pre-booked tickets to ensure people can return safely.

A No 10 source said: “We are only able to move forward this week because the vast majority of people have taken steps to control the virus.

Read more: Films coming to cinemas in 2020

“But the more we open up, the more important it is that everyone follows the social distancing guidelines. We will not hesitate to reverse these steps if it is necessary to stop the virus running out of control.”

Details of a review into the two metre social-distancing rules were being finalised at meeting on Monday evening attended by the Government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, and the chief medical officer for England, Professor Chris Whitty.

Earlier, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the Government was able to act now because the numbers of new coronavirus cases, admissions to hospital, and deaths from the diseases were all continuing to fall.

He told the daily No 10 briefing that just one-in-1,700 people were now infected with the virus, compared to one-in-400 a month ago.

“All these figures are coming down and pointing in the right direction. It shows that while there is still much to do, we are clearly making progress,” he said.

However, Dr Jenny Harries, the deputy chief medical officer for England, said that even as the rules were eased people still needed to follow social distancing, including regular hand-washing and good respiratory hygiene.

“There is a critical point here that says just because life is feeling a bit more back to normal don’t suddenly jump to where you were this time last year. We need to learn to go forward with restrictions in our lives,” she said.