Odeon, Cineworld and Picturehouse close over coronavirus precautions

(Image credit: Odeon)

Update: We've edited this story to include Cineworld's announced closure. 

UK cinema chain Odeon has closed its cinemas until further notice. This isn't a huge surprise, coming a day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned people to avoid crowded environments and gatherings like theatres in a live address, and it follows Odeon's parent company AMC shutting its own theaters in the United States for 6-12 weeks. 

If you've already booked tickets, you can expect an automatic refund.  

"Following government guidelines Odeon cinemas are closed until further notice," the cinema chain said in a statement. "If you have pre-booked tickets online, these will be refunded automatically. For any specific questions, please contact our Guest Services Centre. We look forward to welcoming you back soon."

Rival chain Cineworld and its boutique cinema chain Picturehouse have announced closures too. "At Cineworld and Picturehouse we are committed to providing safe and healthy environments for our employees and guests and have therefore made the difficult decision to close our cinemas in UK and Ireland until further notice," said Cineworld Group chief executive Mooky Greidinger in a statement reported by the BBC.

Vue Cinemas is yet to announce any closures. 

What happens next?

The British government has only given advice on avoiding populated spaces so far, and unless it enacts a law forbidding people to avoid non-essential places like cinemas, it's up to individual businesses to make their own call. 

Let's hope the UK cinema business can recover OK after the pandemic is over. 

Samuel Roberts

Samuel is a PR Manager at game developer Frontier. Formerly TechRadar's Senior Entertainment Editor, he's an expert in Marvel, Star Wars, Netflix shows and general streaming stuff. Before his stint at TechRadar, he spent six years at PC Gamer. Samuel is also the co-host of the popular Back Page podcast, in which he details the trials and tribulations of being a games magazine editor – and attempts to justify his impulsive eBay games buying binges.