An Odeon member of staff with a face mask and popcorn

Odeon and Vue have reduced opening hours of some of their cinemas, while Cineworld has closed all of its UK theatres (Picture: PinPep/REX)

The Government this week introduced a new tiered local lockdown system, formulated for the purpose of avoiding a national lockdown and attempting to clarify what people and businesses can and cannot do to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Tier one is the ‘medium’ alert level that currently applies to the majority of England.

Tier two, meanwhile, is the ‘high’ alert level that requires stricter measures, and tier three is the ‘very high’ alert level, one that warrants tighter restrictions still.

Cinemas in tier 1, 2 and 3 areas

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Cinemas are allowed to remain open in areas under first, second and third tier restrictions, though that could soon change in places that have been particularly badly hit by coronavirus.

People living in areas that are under tier two and tier three rules can only go to the cinema with members of their household or support bubble, as mixing indoors with other households is banned.

Anyone living in a tier one – ‘medium risk’ – area can go to the cinema with people from outside of their household, providing the rule of six is adhered to.

In all instances at least one person in the group is also required to provide their details to the venue, to make contact-tracing possible in the case of an outbreak.

In the case of areas under tier three restrictions, the government’s guidance adds the following caveat: ‘In addition, the government will seek to agree additional measures in consultation with local authorities in order to reduce the spread of the virus.’

One such measure could be to close ‘indoor and outdoor entertainment and tourist attractions and venues’.

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Are cinemas open?

Film production delays combined with the decision from some studios to release films straight to VoD services and the general public’s reluctance to sit in an indoor setting with tens of strangers for an extended period of time, mean cinemas are struggling badly right now.

Cineworld closed all 128 of its venues in the UK and Ireland at the start of the month, a move that cost 45,000 people their jobs.

Odeon and Vue have decided to cut opening times at some of their cinemas from seven days a week to three or four days.

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