UK Cinemas To Be Allowed To Re-open On May 17

As COVID-19 vaccines continue to be administered and infection rates begin to drop. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has outlined the plan for the country to exit its national lockdown, including offering up a tentative date for movie theaters to reopen in England. According to a report from Deadline, the UK's four-stage plan has movie theaters on a "level 3" which means that they will likely be allowed to open on May 17th. Most movie theaters in the country have been shut down since October, though the few theaters that had been operating in London and other cities were shuttered in December.

According to the report, outdoor venues -- including drive-in theaters -- may be allowed to open on April 12th under the plan which will see lockdown restrictions relax beginning March 8th. It's expected that the country will return to more normal operations by late June, dependent upon COVID-19 infection rates.

The full four stages of the reopening plan are below.

March 8: All schools will reopen and outdoor after-school sports and activities will be allowed. Outdoor gatherings in public spaces, such as parks, will be permitted between two people.

March 29: Outdoor gatherings of up to six people or two households will be permitted. Outdoor sports facilities will reopen. Travel outside of local areas will be permitted.

April 12: Non-essential retail can reopen, as can indoor gyms, pools, libraries, and museums. Outdoor venues, including drive-in theaters, can also reopen.

May 17: Most outdoor social contact rules will be lifted with a limit of 30 people for gatherings. Up to six people or two households will be able to meet indoors. Hotels open.

June 21: Limits on social gatherings will be lifted. Businesses not yet open can reopen.

The UK has been in lockdown since January 4th following the identification of a variant of coronavirus in England that is more transmissible. The UK was the first country in the world to being administering the Pfizer vaccine to the public outside of a clinical trial back in December. On Monday, two studies were released showing that the vaccination programs in that country are contributing to large declines in hospitalizations.

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Meanwhile in the United States, while the vaccination program is still running into some challenges, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday that movie theaters in New York City can begin to reopen at limited capacity beginning on Friday, March 5th. Theaters will be restricted to filling their auditoriums at just 25 percent capacity and no more than 50 people allowed inside at once. Patrons will be required to wear masks and utilize assigned seating. Theaters in the Big Apple have been closed for the better part of a year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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