Coronavirus: Independent cinemas in UK unlikely to open before September, survey finds

41 per cent said opening under social distancing was not possible

Isobel Lewis
Tuesday 26 May 2020 13:29
Coronavirus: Non-essential shops to open from June 15

Most independent cinemas in the UK say that they wouldn't be able to survive more than three months under social distancing rules if they reopen on 4 July.

Despite the UK government suggesting that cinemas might be able to open then, research conducted by the Independent Cinema Office has shown that the majority of independent outlets are looking to September as their realistic opening date.

Meanwhile, a significant number admitted that they wouldn’t be able to do so until 2021, with 41% of responses saying that as long as social distancing guidelines were in place, their doors would be shut as such measures would be too hard to enforce.

Under measures put in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus, most independent venues predict having to halve their seating capacity and number of screenings, leading to drops in concession sales and advertising revenue.

For the 59% who plan to reopen, concerns over keeping the venues sanitised was deemed to be a big concern, as the cast of hand sanitiser, face mask, and perspex screens around the box office was predicted to add 20% to running costs.

“There is a huge amount of uncertainty around reopening from the independent exhibitors, from Health and Safety, cost of PPE measures, audience willingness to return, availability of content. Many operators find it very hard to see the way forward,” the ICO report concluded.

The report follows news that Vue cinemas are hoping to reopen in mid-July.

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