Cinemas Reopen: Should You Take Kids?

Children watching a film

Are you ready to return to cinemas?

As the Coronavirus pandemic gripped the UK cinemas across the UK were forced to shut their doors on the 17 March. But now they're back – with a whole new raft of measures to keep customers safe.

Ultimately the decision of whether to visit the cinema will come down to your attitude to risk and your personal circumstances. Are you confident that children can follow social distancing guidelines and comfortable with the measures your local has in place? It's clear that cinemas have spent a considerable amount of time assessing every aspect of your trip to make sure it's as safe as possible – after all they want you to feel safe enough to return.

Cineworld Cinemas: Opening July 10

COVID-19 Secure measures:

Social distancing across the cinema

All toilets stocked with antibacterial soap and hand sanitiser stations available

Enhanced cleaning programme

Staggered film times to minimise contact

Plastic screening at tills

Contactless payment and e-tickets

Distanced seating in theatres to ensure a safe distance between groups

Staff provided with PPE

Increased contactless limit to £45.

Odeon Cinemas: Opening July

COVID-19 Secure measures:

Limited number of seats on sale to meet social distancing guidelines

Staggered start and end time to reduce queues

Customers encouraged to book online

No cash payments

Increased contactless limit

Pre-packaged food and drinks on sale

Enhanced cleaning programme

Hand sanitiser stations available

Staff to wear PPE

Showcase Cinemas: Opening July 4

COVID-19 Secure measures:

Limited capacity in screens to meet social distancing guidelines

Fewer screenings throughout the day

Staggered start and end times

Hand sanitiser stations

Audience encouraged to wear face masks, though they can be removed once sat down

Enhanced cleaning including a new anti-viral fogging machine that removes airborne viruses to be used on every seat between showings and at the end of the day

New air purifying systems installed in theatres to kill airborne viruses

Perspex shields at tills

Food and drink can be ordered in advance and collected from a pick-up station

Contactless payments encouraged

Self-scanning of tickets to enter auditoriums

Picturehouse Cinemas: Opening July 10

COVID-19 Secure measures:

Social distancing observed

Staggered start and end times

Allocated seating to ensure safe distancing between different household groups

Hand sanitiser stations

Enhanced cleaning programme, including additional cleaning time between films

PPE provided to staff

Protective screens at till points

Contactless payments encouraged and limit increased to £45

Cafes, bars and restaurants to remain closed

Everyman Cinemas: Opening July 4

COVID-19 Secure measures:

Chelmsford, Gerrards Cross, Esher, Horsham, Barnet and Hampstead opening July 4 with all sites set to be open by July 17. A new site in Chelsea will open July 24

Screens at bars and tills

Customers encouraged to place orders from their seats

Revised seating plans to enable social distancing

Staggered start and end times

Hand sanitiser stations

PPE available for staff

Vue: Opening July 10

COVID-19 Secure measures:

Revised seating to enable household groups to socially distance from other groups

Staggered film times

Enhanced cleaning programme

Limiting the number of customers entering the cinema

Pre-packaged pick 'n' mix

PPE for employees

What About Independent Cinemas?

Many independent theatres are choosing to open at a later date. A survey from the Independent Cinema Office revealed just 13 per cent of venues say they'll be operating in July, 15 per cent plan to reopen in August and 23 per cent will wait until September. Give your local independent cinema a call to get their most up-to-date details on reopening and proposed safety measures.

What Else Can Parents Do:

If your cinema allows it, bring in your own drinks and snacks.

Wear gloves and masks.

Take your own hand sanitiser.

Use your toilet at home so you only have to use the public cinema toilets in an emergency.

Avoid taking anything unnecessary with you – so no toys or teddies. And if you can, avoid taking a bag.

Prebook tickets to guarantee seats and minimise contact.

Don't arrive earlier than you need to minimise time spent indoors with other customers.

If you want even more detail on this, check out our blog post here.

Is There A Drive-In Cinema Near Me?

After months of no cinema, the UK has fully embraced the idea of the drive-in movie. After all, if you don't have to leave your own car you can be fairly confident that you're not at an increased risk of contracting coronavirus. The majority of screenings are more suited to older children, but there are some great classic screenings to tick off your tweens' and teens' must-see list.

The Drive In

From July 4 at The Troubadour Meridian Water in Enfield, London.  You'll be able to book to watch films, live music and stand-up comedy. They have some great events coming up for all age groups, from Mary Poppins to Aladdin to Dirty Dancing.

The Luna Cinema

At sites from early July, including Knebworth House in Herts, Blenheim Palace in Oxford, Warwick Castle in the Midlands and Allianz Park in London. More venues to be announced.

At the Drive In

Touring across the UK from July 4th. This includes screenings in South London (6-12 July) and East London (16-21 September) with other venues including Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle.

Pub in the Park

Film fans can enjoy Drive & Dine Theatre at Syon Park and Selhurst Park Stadium in London from early July. The line-up includes classics like Back to the Future and Jaws as well as newer releases like blockbuster 1917.

Sunset Cinema

Head to Twyford Avenue Sports Ground in London and catch Bohemian Rhapsody, Grease, The Lion King and La La Land. Food can be pre-ordered and cars will be spaced two metres apart.

Rooftop Film Club

From July 4 you can head to London's Alexandra Palace for a mix of modern and classic films.

What can you watch

Unsurprisingly the COVID crisis has had a significant impact on film production. Some blockbusters had to halt filming or production pushing back their release dates. Initially, cinemas will focus on re-releases: celebrating its 40th anniversary, The Empire Strikes Back is one such film hoping to pull in audiences. The second in the Star Wars trilogy (and many consider it to be the best) will hope to delight a new generation of fans. But there are also some new releases to watch out for:

Mulan - released July 24

This summer's most hotly anticipated film is Disney's live-action remake following the story of the girl who becomes a warrior.

SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the run - released July 31

This fun adventure is sure to be a hit with your little people, as SpongeBob and Patrick try to rescue Gary from Poseidon.

The Secret Garden - released August 14

Based on the classic book, this film tells the story of an orphan sent to live with her Uncle on his remote estate in Yorkshire and who discovers a secret garden.

Black Widow - October 28

Marvel's latest offering will follow Scarlett Johansson's superhero as she goes on the run from the US government.

Soul - November 20

Pixar's film follows the journey a music teacher goes on to discover himself when his body and soul become separated, threatening to stop him from reaching his dream of performing jazz live on stage.

The Croods 2 - December 23

The prehistoric family is back and this time their biggest threat is another family.

Coming 2021

Some movies slated to release in 2020 have been pushed back to 2021. Here's what to look out for – coming to a cinema near you next year:

Peter Rabbit 2 - January

Ghostbusters: Afterlife - March

Raya and the Last Dragon -March

Minions: The Rise of Gru - July

Jungle Cruise - July


Written By

Cora Lydon

Cora Lydon is a freelance journalist living in Suffolk with her husband and two children. She’s also a children’s book author who loves finding activities and place to inspire her children. Her dining table bears the scars of many craft activities attempts (many unsuccessful).

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