U.K. Prime Boris Johnson has confirmed that cinemas, museums and galleries can reopen from July 4 — and all under a relaxed social distancing limit.
Addressing the House of Commons on Tuesday, Johnson said: “Most leisure facilities and tourist attractions will reopen if they can do so safely, including outdoor gyms and playgrounds, cinemas, museums, galleries, theme parks and arcades, as well as libraries, social clubs and community centres.”
“We will also work with the arts industry on specific guidance to enable choirs, orchestras and theaters to resume live performances as soon as possible,” Johnson said.
Crucially, Johnson also said that the two-meter social distancing rule will be reduced to one meter. This will be a boon to cinema chains and theaters as the number of customers accommodated will increase.
“Where it is possible, people should [maintain the two-meter distance],” Johnson said. “But where it is not, we will advise people to keep a social distance of one meter plus, meaning they should remain one meter apart while taking mitigations to reduce the risk of transmission.”
These relaxations are applicable only in England. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own timelines.
Vue cinema chain previously announced plans for a July 4 reopening with library films including a remastered 4K print of “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” and Christopher Nolan’s “Inception,” in the run-up to the July 31 release of “Tenet.”
The Cineworld group has announced plans to reopen screens from July 10. These include its wholly-owned subsidiary Picturehouse Cinemas, that will reopen with Eva Green starrer “Proxima.”
U.K. cinemas shuttered in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. The country has recorded 305,289 cases with 42,647 deaths. On Monday, The number of recorded coronavirus cases was 958, the lowest tally since lockdown began on March 23. “Infections are falling, the NHS is restoring and the virus is in retreat,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said.