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Boris Johnson

Cinemas in England will not be required to close at 10pm when the government imposes fresh Covid-19 restrictions on Thursday (September 24).

The 10pm curfew applies to pubs, bars, restaurants and hospitality venues. However, UK culture secretary Oliver Dowden confirmed that cinemas are exempt from the rule in a tweet on Tuesday afternoon.

However, films must have started screening before 10pm; and alcoholic drinks may not be served post-10pm, the DCMS confirmed to Screen.

The exemption will be of some relief to the exhibition sector, which is preparing for major releases in the coming weeks including Saint Maud (Studiocanal, October 9), Death On The Nile (Disney, October 14), Black Widow (Disney, October 28), and James Bond film No Time To Die (Universal, November 12).

Details of the curfew were revealed in a speech to parliament by UK prime minister Boris Johnson today (22).

No timescale for the measures has been outlined but Johnson said restrictions could last for six months if the virus transmission rate does not decrease.

A further change will now see staff in the hospitality and retail sectors required to wear face masks.

The government has reverted back to recommending that people from all industries work from home “if possible”.

The measures laid out in parliament today only apply to England. It is a devolved issue, with the Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Irish governments expected to announce their own changes in the coming days.

All UK cinemas were required to close from March 20 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Venues were cleared to reopen in England from July 4; July 10 in Northern Ireland; July 15 in Scotland; and July 27 in Wales. However, many cinemas – including the major chains – did not reopen until later in the summer.