Do cinemas have to close at 10pm? New rules explained

CINEMA chains will be able to show films beyond 10pm despite a new coronavirus curfew placed on businesses.

But they won’t be able to serve food or drink beyond this time – we explain more below.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is imposing tougher coronavirus restrictions to help stave off a second wave of the virus.

It comes as infections have been rising steeply across the UK in recent weeks, while the country's Covid alert level has been raised from three to four.

To help curb the spread, the PM has ordered hospitality and leisure businesses to close at 10pm every night, starting from this Thursday, September 24.

This includes pubs, restaurants and casinos – see the full list below.

But the rules for venues that host performances, such as cinemas and indoor theatres, are slightly different.

The below applies to businesses in England.

Scotland and Wales have announced a similar 10pm curfew but it's unclear what their rules mean for cinemas.

Do cinemas have to close at 10pm?

Cinemas will be allowed to stay open beyond 10pm if a film has already started.

For example, if a film starts at 9pm, customers will be allowed to finish watching that showing.

However, cinema chains won't be allowed to serve food or drink beyond 10pm.

Cinemas also won't be allowed to start showing a film after 10pm, which means there will be no midnight showings.

These rules also apply to concert halls and theatres.

Does this apply to all cinema chains?

Yes, these rules are in place for both independent cinemas and chains.

We checked Odeon cinemas in Brighton, London and Milton Keynes and the latest film showing they had for the next two days starts at 8.30pm.

The latest Cineworld showing we found in three of its cinemas – Basildon, Sheffield and Wolverhampton – up to next Tuesday, September 29, also starts at 8.30pm.

And for Vue cinemas in Newbury, Exeter and London, the latest showing we spotted for showings up to next Tuesday was 8.40pm.

Which businesses have to shut at 10pm?

The PM is imposing a 10pm curfew on the following places:

  • Pubs
  • Restaurants
  • Social clubs
  • Casinos
  • Bowling alleys
  • Amusement arcades
  • Funfairs
  • Theme parks
  • Adventure parks
  • Activity parks
  • Bingo halls

These businesses won't be able to open again until 5am the following day.

As part of the new rules, restaurants and pubs can run table services only and must close by 10pm.

But takeaway services can still deliver after the 10pm deadline.

Speaking today in the House of Commons, Mr Johnson said: "From Thursday all pubs bars and restaurants must operate a table service only expect for takeaways – together with all hospitality venues they must close at 10pm.

"I'm sorry that this will affect many businesses just getting back on their feet but we must act."

When the PM was asked about the rationale behind the 10pm curfew, he said: "What we’ve seen from the evidence, and alas, the spread of the virus spreads more later in the night when more alcohol has been consumed."

Here's what happened when The Sun took a first look inside an Odeon cinema ahead of its reopening.

We also checked out all the changes in Lakeside shopping centre in Essex.

And here’s what going for a game of ten-pin bowling at Hollywood Bowl looks like now.

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