Advice & Support

COVID-19 restrictions for cinemas

Information regarding COVID-19 restrictions on cinemas in each of the devolved nations of the UK.

These continue to be challenging times for cinemas across the UK. As ever, the ICO is here to help and support you. Get in touch if you’d like to talk: info@independentcinemaoffice.org.uk

England

The UK Government is introducing new national restrictions in England from 5 November which will last for four weeks until 2 December. During this time cinemas will be required to close. Note, this also includes drive-in cinemas. You can find further information on the UK Government website.

At the end of this period, the three-tiered system of local COVID-19 Alert Levels is planned to be reintroduced in England. Details of the restrictions for cinemas set out in each of these tiers are as below:

Level One (Medium)

  • Cinemas can remain open until 10.00pm curfew
  • Screenings beginning before 10.00pm may continue
  • Alcohol cannot be served after 10.00pm
  • Cinemas to collect Test & Trace data or display Test & Track App QR code
  • The ‘rule of six’ will continue to apply
  • Cinemas exempt from requiring people to be seated to order food and drink
  • Regulations reviewed every 28 days

Level Two (High)

  • Cinemas can remain open until 10.00pm curfew
  • Screenings beginning before 10.00pm may continue
  • Alcohol cannot be served after 10.00pm
  • Cinemas to collect Test & Trace data or display Test & Track App QR code
  • The ‘rule of six’ will continue to apply, but no households are able to mix indoors unless in a support bubble
  • Cinemas exempt from requiring people to be seated to order food and drink
  • Regulations reviewed every 28 days
  • Areas in Level Two reviewed every 14 days

Level Three (Very High)

  • Cinemas can remain open until 10.00pm curfew
  • Screenings beginning before 10.00pm may continue
  • Alcohol cannot be served after 10.00pm
  • Cinemas to collect Test & Trace data or display Test & Track App QR code
  • The ‘rule of six’ will continue to apply, but no households are able to mix indoors unless in a support bubble
  • No indoor meetings beyond a household or support bubble
  • Cinemas exempt from requiring people to be seated to order food and drink
  • Regulations reviewed every 28 days
  • Areas in Level Three reviewed every 14 days
  • Local councils may add further restrictions on sale of alcohol or venue closures

You can find out which level areas are placed in on the UK Government website.

Wales

The Welsh Government introduced a ‘firebreak’ period on Friday 23 October which will be in place until Monday 9 November. During this period, cinemas are not permitted to open to the public, though performances may be broadcast without an audience, whether over the internet or as part of a radio or television broadcast. You can find more guidance on the firebreak period restrictions for businesses on the Welsh Government website.

Scotland

A system of local protection levels was introduced on 2 November in Scotland. Each area of Scotland has been assigned one of five COVID protection levels. Details of the restrictions for cinemas set out in each of these levels is as below:

Level Zero:

  • Cinemas can remain open
  • Eating and drinking while seated at tables is required
  • Food and drink licensing times apply indoor and outdoors

Level One:

  • Cinemas can remain open until 22:30
  • Audiences cannot enter after 21:30
  • Eating and drinking while seated at tables is required

Level Two:

  • Cinemas can remain open until 20:00
  • Audiences cannot enter after 19:00
  • Eating and drinking while seated at tables is required
  • Alcohol can only be consumed with a main meal

Level Three:

  • Cinemas must be closed

Level Four:

  • Cinemas must be closed

You can find out which level areas are placed in on the Scottish Government website.

Northern Ireland

Additional restrictions were introduced in Northern Ireland on Friday 16 October and will be in place for four weeks. During this period, cinemas are not permitted to open. You can find further information on the restrictions on the nidirect website.

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