While deployment of a vaccine for COVID-19 has begun in some parts of the world, the ongoing pandemic continues to be a public health concern as cases surge worldwide. Now, movie theaters across London as well as other areas of England will be forced to close again starting Wednesday as various parts of the nation move into England's highest level of coronavirus restrictions. According to The Hollywood Reporter, movie theaters, pubs, restaurants, and bars are among the establishments that will be required to close except for carryout services where possible.
Per the report, London was previously at Tier 2 for coronavirus restrictions that allowed various hospitality venues to operate in limited capacity. However, the city has seen a surge in cases, prompting the shift to the more restrictive Tier 3. Essex, Kent, and Hertfordshire counties as well as the city of Manchester have already been placed in the category. Most recent COVID-19 data for London revealed nearly 24,000 confirmed cases in the city with numbers rising.
The U.K. was the first country in the world to begin administering the Pfizer vaccine to the public outside of a clinical trial last week. The United States followed suit on Monday. The vaccine is one that Imax CEO Richard Gelfond recently called a "game-changer" for the movie theater industry.
"Pfizer said it is a game-changer in terms of public health issues And I think the vaccine is a game-changer in terms of the movie industry," Gelfond told The Hollywood Reporter last month. "No one had a time frame before. The announcement puts bookends on it."
The movie industry has been in a state of limbo since March when theaters around the world began closing their doors as lockdown and stay at home orders were issued in the hope of slowing the spread of COVID-19. While many theaters were permitted to reopen late this summer, they did so at a reduced capacity and saw significantly diminished box office returns. With new surges of the disease, some states and localities have tightened restrictions again, prompting some theaters to close shop once more – as well as many films opting to release directly to streaming or, in the case of Warner Bros., opt to release their entire 2021 film slate on HBO Max simultaneously with theatrical release where available.
What do you think about London movie theaters having to shut down again due to the COVID-19 pandemic? Do you think 2021 will see theaters return to something akin to normal? Let us know in the comments.
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