Belgium’s biggest multiplex chain Kinepolis has closed its theaters as part of new measures to contain the outbreak of coronavirus in the country.
Other theater chains and arthouse cinemas in Belgium are also set to close, according to the local TV channel RTBF.
Kinepolis said it would close its multiplex theaters across Belgium “starting on Friday until March 31 at least”. The company said the decision was taken after consulting local authorities.
Boasting 111 cinemas worldwide, Kinepolis has 55 complexes throughout Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Spain, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Poland. The group also has a footprint in North America thanks to its acquisition of Canadian movie theatre group Landmark Cinemas and American movie theatre chain MJR. It now operates 46 cinemas in Canada and 10 in the U.S. The company employs 4,600 people.
Kinepolis said it is in the process of discussing with authorities in other countries to determine their course of action. “Measures have been taken to limit the occupancy per room, as well as a number of additional measures, such as a stronger spread of the starting time of the film screenings,” said the group.
Kinepolis said it expects “a severe impact on the group’s financial results for the first half of the year” depending on how long the cinemas will be closed and have many venues are impacted.
Belgium had 559 cases of coronavirus and three deaths as of March 13.