Germany Orders Re-Closing Of All Cinemas; France Could Be Next

As expected, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has ordered the closing of all cinemas in the country as part of sweeping lockdown measures designed to stem an alarming rise in the country’s COVID infection rate. The CEO of Germany’s primary cinema organization HDF Kino on Wednesday said she was “stunned” by the move and warned theaters could be “driven to ruin.”

The protocols, which will begin November 2 and last for an initial four weeks, will see social contact limited to two households, and other leisure establishments such as theaters and bars will also shutter. Italy re-shut cinemas earlier this week and France is expected to tighten measures in the next few hours, which could also impact cinemas.

As Deadline reported yesterday, Germany is recording daily infection rates as high as 14,000 this week, dwarfing previous numbers in March. In response and ahead of introducing the new lockdown, Merkel warned of “very, very difficult months ahead.”

The HDF protested the idea of re-closing venues as it claimed “not a single COVID-19 infection associated with going to the cinema is known worldwide.”

Responding to today’s update, the org’s CEO Christine Berg warned of the “possibly fatal” impact further closures could have on the theatrical business. She said losses would exceed €1 billion and lead to more permanent shutting down of venues.

“We no longer understand the constant ups and downs of the measures taken. For six months we have been working in cinemas with detailed security concepts, large rooms, modern ventilation systems and only a 25% capacity utilization,” wrote Berg in a statement. “The cinemas take on a great responsibility for their visitors and yet it is of no use to them.”

She called for further economic support for venues but cautioned that trust between cinema owners and the government had been “enormously damaged” by flaws in previous assistance. “Now the state must quickly provide unbureaucratic and transparent aid and take everyone with it,” she wrote.

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