Coronavirus: Northampton cinemas shutting down in battle to beat pandemic
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Northampton's two main cinemas are locking their doors in the wake of latest Government advice on combating the coronavirus pandemic.
Vue also issued reassurances to its staff that they will be "protected and not penalised financially" during the shutdown.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday: "Everyone should avoid gatherings and crowded places, such as pubs, clubs and theatres." On the same day, the number of recorded cases in Northamptonshire rose to 12 in a nationwide total of 1,543.
Tim Richards, founder and CEO 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.
"As you would expect, we are also doing our part by putting employment policies in place so that our staff are protected and are not penalised financially.
"We want to wish all our customers and employees well during these difficult times."
Cineworld Group CEO Mooky Greidinger said: “We are committed to providing safe and healthy environments for our employees and guests and have therefore made the difficult decision to close our cinemas in UK and Ireland until further notice.
"We deeply value our cinema-loving customers and have no doubt we will be serving everyone again as soon as possible with a full slate of Hollywood blockbusters and the best of independent films and content.”
Vue has ten screens inside Sol Central with seats for more than 2,150 cinema-goers. Cineworld has nine screens and a capacity for 1,816 customers at Sixfields.
Release dates for major movies, including the latest James Bond and Fast & Furious films, had already been shovelled back by up to a year.