Odeon announces they will reopen cinemas in May with new safety measures

Cinemas have been dealt a huge financial blow by the pandemic.

The cinemas will reopen with new safety measures in place.
The cinemas will reopen with new safety measures in place.

Cinema chain Odeon has announced that they will be reopening following the next stage of lockdown easing on May 17.

The “vast majority” of Odeon’s some 120 UK cinemas will be reopening from this date, say bosses, with new safety measures in place to protect customers.

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The announcement follows a string of cinemas - including Cineworld - also stating plans to reopen their doors from the 17th.

Flagship cinemas at London's Leicester Square, Manchester's Trafford Centre and Birmingham's Broadway Plaza will be among those reopening.

"We've all missed the magic that the cinema brings to movie watching," said Odeon managing director Carol Welch.

The company hopes they can draw film fans back with new film releases including Marvel’s Black Widow and long-awaited Bond film No Time to Die.

New safety measures include limiting the number of people allowed into screens, with space left between seats for social distancing.

Punters will be expected to wear masks in the cinema, but will be permitted to remove them for the purposes of eating or drinking.

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Show times will also be staggered to reduce queues, while only card payments - rather than cash - will be accepted.

The reopening of Odeon cinemas follows a tough year for the industry as a whole, with global box office takings falling by more than 70 per cent from the previous year to $12.4bn, according to film technology firm Gower Street Analytics.

Even during times where cinemas haven’t been closed, all have had to reduce the number of customers allowed in for screenings, while film releases have been constantly delayed.

In December, Odeon's US owner, AMC Entertainment Holdings, was forced to raise $100m (£76m) in emergency funds, warning that it was fast running out of cash.

The chain was reportedly going through$125m a month after coronavirus shuttered cinemas and kept concerned audiences away.

Most cinemas in the UK are expected to reopen during May as lockdown measures begin to ease across the four nations.