French cinemas and theaters that were expected to reopen Dec. 15 will be staying closed until at least Jan. 7 due to the pandemic. The news was announced by France’s Prime Minister Jean Castex on Thursday evening.
Along with cinemas and theaters, concert venues and museums will also remain shut until early January at the soonest.
“The numbers are not going down…and we know that the holiday period presents some risks. We cannot let our guard down,” said Castex.
“I know how much professionals in the culture sector have been preparing for the reopening [on Dec. 15]…It’s a particularly painful decision. But if we let ourselves be tempted by a reopening, the sanitary situation would be worse in January,” said Castex.
France President Emmanuel Macron said during a televised address on Nov. 24 that the country’s venues could reopen on Dec. 15 if the number of coronavirus cases had decreased to 5,000 per day, with 2,500-3,000 patients in intensive care. But as of Dec. 7, there are about 10,000 new cases daily.
The country’s exhibition and distribution sectors are up in arms. Theaters have been closed since Oct. 30 and were getting ready to reopen with several anticipated releases and re-releases. These included Maiwenn’s “DNA,” Laurent Tirard’s “The Speech,” Charlène Favier’s “Slalom” (pictured) and Quentin Dupieux’s “Mandibules.”
The FNCF (National Exhibitors Association) spokesperson Marc-Olivier Sebbag pointed out that clusters of COVID-19 haven’t originated from theaters during the time they reopened between June 22 and Oct. 30. Theaters were also shut down during the first lockdown, from mid-March to late June.
While theaters remain closed, all shops — including malls — reopened Nov. 28. Restaurants and bars, meanwhile, aren’t expected to reopen until at least Jan. 20.