Coronavirus pandemic forces closure of Odeon, Vue and Cineworld cinemas

Cinemas are set to close following Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement urging UK citizens to avoid mass gatherings including pubs, theatres and cinemas to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Odeon announced its closure in a tweet this morning, saying: "Following the government guidelines ODEON cinemas are closed until further notice.

"If you have pre-booked tickets online, these will be refunded automatically."

This will see the closure of 120 of its cinemas to limit the spread of COVID-19 and to encourage social distancing.

Vue has also announced the closure of 91 of its cinemas, starting today.

Tim Richards, founder and chief executive of Vue International, said: "Since the first news of the Covid-19 outbreak, we have been doing everything we can to provide a high-quality, enjoyable and safe big-screen experience for our customers.

"However in line with the UK Government's latest public health advice we will be closing all our 91 cinemas in the UK & Ireland from today, March 17, until further notice."

The statement also said Vue was doing their part to implement employment policies so that staff are protected and not penalised financially.

Pre-existing bookings will be refunded automatically.

Cineworld and Picturehouse have both announced their closure.

A statement posted on Cineworld's Twitter read: "We will be closing all Cineworld cinemas across the UK from tomorrow (Wednesday, 18 March) and in Ireland from today (Tuesday, 17 March 2020), until further notice.

"This decision was made in the light of the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and recent UK government advice, which the company has been carefully monitoring and following.

"We are committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for all of our employees and guests.

"We deeply value our movie-loving customers and their health and wellbeing is our number one priority during this difficult time.

"We look forward to welcoming you back as soon as possible to enjoy a full slate of film releases."

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