Germany and France Shutting Down Movie Theaters Again in New COVID-19 Lockdowns

As a second wave of COVID-19 infections begin to hit due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus, both German and France are taking measures to help slow things down including new lockdowns in both nations that include the closure of movie theaters. In Germany, new restrictions take effect on November 2nd while French cinemas will close through at least December 1st as a new nationwide lockdown takes effect on Friday, October 30th. These closures follow Italy's closure of theaters earlier this week and it's possible that other countries may follow suit.

During a press conference in Berlin on Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed the need for this new lockdown, stating that the infection curve for COVID-19 needed to flatten again.

"The speed of the virus is especially high," Merkel said (via Variety).

"We have to act, and act now," she continued. "The curve must be flattened again."

The new lockdown comes as the number of COVID-19 cases in intensive care facilities has doubled over the last 10 days. The new German restrictions will see non-essential trips within Germany no longer permitted, and only outdoor meetings of a maximum of 10 people permitted. This new lockdown is currently set to last for an entire month.

In France, President Emmanuel Macron announced that their lockdown will last through December 1st with Macron also citing a surge in COVID-19 infections and a need to flatten the curve again, warning that the second wave of the virus is "likely to be deadlier than the first" (via The Hollywood Reporter).

While many theaters in the United States and in other countries remain open, these new European closures do not bode well for the film industry and, indeed, earlier this month, members of the Directors Guild of America, the National Association of Theatre Owners, and the Motion Picture Association sent a substantial letter to the United States congress asking for a bailout for American movie theaters, citing concerns that theaters may not survive the pandemic. with an estimated 69 percent of small and mid-sized movie theater companies potentially forced to file for bankruptcy or even to close permanently with 66 percent of theater jobs lost unless aid is not offered.

AMC Theatres specifically has already posted a filing with the SEC suggesting that bankruptcy is a legitimate possibility by the end of the year. For now, many theaters in the United States remain open as permitted by various local ordinances -- major markets such as Los Angeles and New York remain closed.

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Photo: Michal Cizek / AFP via Getty Images