Suffolk Cineworld venues to close on Thursday
- Credit: Archant
Cineworld has announced it will be temporarily closing its UK venues - including in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill - on Thursday.
The cinema giant has confirmed all 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse sites in the country will be shutting their doors after the latest James Bond film, No Time to Die, was delayed until April next year.
Other blockbusters, such as Black Widow and Wonder Woman: 1984, have also been put back to 2021 as the cinema industry has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.
Around 5,500 jobs at Cineworld are at risk nationwide, with shares in the firm dropping by 57% as markets opened on Monday following the news.
Cineworld is believed to be aiming to reopen its sites next spring when more big-budget films are expected to be released.
Mooky Greidinger, chief executive of Cineworld, said: “This is not a decision we made lightly, and we did everything in our power to support safe and sustainable reopenings in all of our markets - including meeting, and often exceeding, local health and safety guidelines in our theatres and working constructively with regulators and industry bodies to restore public confidence in our industry.
“We are especially grateful for and proud of the hard work our employees put in to adapt our theatres to the new protocols and cannot underscore enough how difficult this decision was.
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“Cineworld will continue to monitor the situation closely and will communicate any future plans to resume operations in these markets at the appropriate time, when key markets have more concrete guidance on their reopening status and, in turn, studios are able to bring their pipeline of major releases back to the big screen.”
Paul Clement, chief executive of Ipswich Central, added: “Closures like this are devastating for towns like Ipswich.
“Our thoughts are with those that may lose their jobs as a result.
“It is obvious that entertainment venues cannot operate with the current measures. If government wish for the industry to survive, they will have to find another way.”
Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey, also Suffolk Coastal MP, insisted there has been “a lot of support” for companies, after Cineworld confirmed its plans.
Asked if the Government will help the chain, she told Sky News: “One of the things Cineworld has cited is that cinemagoers want to be able to see new films coming through, as opposed to just seeing films of the past, and that’s something which the whole industry can work together to deploy.
“Cineworld will have been supported throughout the year through the furlough scheme, through other ways the Government has been supporting businesses. Conscious that aspects of the main furlough scheme are coming to an end, but there is a successor scheme there.
“Cineworld ... we cannot make every economic decision for companies, it’s up to them to make that choice, but I do think, frankly, there has been a lot of support in order to try and keep people in jobs, and I know that businesses recognise that.”