Cineworld to close all cinemas in the UK and Ireland

Cineworld will close all of its cinemas in the UK, Ireland and US this week because of the impact of coronavirus.

It follows the announcement that upcoming Bond film No Time To Die  has been pushed back to April, after it was set to be released in cinemas next month.

Cineworld could shut all of its 128 UK and Ireland cinemas, putting up to 5,500 jobs at risk, according to The Sunday Times.

The decision may be announced as early as tomorrow with the chain’s bosses preparing to write to Boris Johnson and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden to say the industry has become “unviable”, the newspaper reported.

Cinemas were closed in March when the UK went into a national lockdown, but reopened in England on 4 July.

The industry has struggled during the coronavirus crisis and last month Cineworld announced half-year losses of $1.6bn (£1.3bn).

Cineworld Action Group, which is run by employees of the cinema chain, claimed there was “no consultation with staff whatsoever” on the apparent decision.

“We have found out vital information about our jobs from the media throughout the pandemic. Workers have been left out of discussions that should’ve included our voices,” they wrote on Twitter.

The group also alleged that members of staff were sacked by scripted phone calls in March and that health and safety concerns were “consistently ignored”.

Cineworld previously said it had used government support schemes to support the wages of its 37,000 staff during lockdown.

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