The Vue and Odeon cinema chains are gradually reopening their doors in England and Ireland.
Select Odeon venues will begin reopening from Dec. 4. “We’ll be reopening some of our cinemas on December 4th, in line with government guidelines. For up-to-date information, please select your local cinema and check showtimes,” the Odeon group said in a statement to patrons.
Beginning with 30 locations, starting Dec. 11, Vue is also set to reopen doors.
England’s second lockdown lifts from Wednesday (Dec. 2), while cinemas across Ireland began reopening on Tuesday.
“We are delighted to announce the phased re-opening of our venues,” Vue said in a statement on Wednesday. “We strongly believe in the importance of escaping in the magic of Christmas. The Big Screen Experience is the perfect way to escape in a safe and responsible way. We have scheduled a special programme of classic Christmas films, including ‘Home Alone,’ ‘Love Actually,’ ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ and ‘Die Hard.’
Tickets go on sale Dec. 4 at Vue venues.
Vue locations that are reopening first include the flagship Vue West End at London’s Leicester Square, several other London sites, and across Cambridge, Oxford, Reading, York and Dublin, Ireland.
Independent cinemas across the territory are also gradually opening doors.
The news of cinemas reopening comes as the U.K. became one of the first countries to approve a COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use.
On Wednesday, the U.K.’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) authorized the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which proved to be 95% effective in trial situations, and will begin rolling out from next week with 800,000 vaccines.
The U.K. has initially purchased 40 million doses. In a Downing Street press conference on Wednesday held by MHRA chief regulator Dr. June Raine, Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed, Chair of the Commission on Human Medicine Expert Working Group, and Professor Wei Shen Lim, chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization,, the experts revealed that the vaccine will be administered in two doses, 21 days apart, with immunity achieved seven days after the second dose.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “It’s the protection of vaccines that will ultimately allow us to reclaim our lives and get the economy moving again.”
Nadhim Zahawi, recently appointed as the health minister to oversee rollout of the vaccine in England, has indicated that the government is looking at the technology to generate an ‘immunity passport’ for those already vaccinated.
“You’ll probably find that restaurants and bars and cinemas and other venues, sports venues, will probably also use that system – as they have done with the test and trace app,” Zahawi told the BBC on Monday.
“I think that in many ways, the pressure will come from both ways, from service providers who’ll say, ‘Look, demonstrate to us that you have been vaccinated,’ ” Zahawi said.
“But, also, we will make the technology as easy and accessible as possible.”