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Regal Cinemas parent company Cineworld announced on Oct. 5 that it would temporarily close its 536 US theaters as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.


Photo by Victor J. Blue/Getty Images

The COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the movie business is leading to the temporary closure of Regal’s 536 US theaters, the theater chain’s parent company Cineworld announced on Monday. 

“This is not a decision we made lightly, and we did everything in our power to support a safe and sustainable reopening in the U.S.– from putting in place robust health and safety measures at our theatres to joining our industry in making a collective commitment to the CinemaSafe protocols to reaching out to state and local officials to educate them on these initiatives,” Mooky Greidinger, CEO of Cineworld, said in a statement. 

“We are especially grateful for and proud of the hard work our employees put in to adapt our theatres to the new protocols and cannot underscore enough how difficult this decision was.”

The company attributed the decision to the closure of theaters in major markets like New York and the decision of studios to push off major new releases until next year. Recent postponements include Marvel Studios’ Black Widow being pushed to May 7, 2021, while this past Friday saw the next James Bond film, No Time to Die, getting delayed until next April

“Despite our work, positive feedback from our customers and the fact that there has been no evidence to date linking any COVID cases with cinemas, we have not been given a route to reopen in New York, although other indoor activities – like indoor dining, bowling and casinos were

Cineworld, the world’s second-biggest cinema operator, said it will temporarily close all its screens in the United States and Britain after studios pulled major releases such as the latest James Bond film.

The Regal cinema owner, which began reopening in July after Covid-19 lockdown restrictions started to ease, employs 37,482 people across 787 venues in the U.S., Britain and central Europe, with 546 sites in America.

The chief executive of Cineworld said he had no choice but to close UK and U.S. sites because the cinema chain was bleeding too much cash to keep them open, and that the operations might resume in “two months, or a bit longer.”

“We had reached the stage where we had no alternative, it was a very, very difficult decision for us, mainly in view of the move we will have to take towards the employees,” CEO Mooky Greidinger told Sky News on Monday.

“From a liquidity point of view, we were bleeding much bigger amounts when we are open than when we were closed.”

The release of the new James Bond movie, “No Time To Die,” was pushed into next year on Friday, crushing hopes for a 2020 industry rebound as rising rates of the coronavirus prompt new restrictions and keep viewers away.

Cineworld’s statement on Monday, confirming leaks over the weekend, spelled out the scale of job losses from its move, which affects thousands of ancillary staff including cleaners and security as well as its own employees.

The entertainment industry has been among the heaviest hit by social distancing and other restrictions, with Walt Disney last week announcing plans to lay off roughly 28,000 employees, mostly at its U.S. theme parks.

Cineworld began reopening in July after virus-related restrictions started to ease, but the further postponement of the Bond film and others

add Chinese customs statement on Thursday

SAO PAULO/BRASILIA, Sept 30 (Reuters)China on Wednesday said it would temporarily suspend imports from a beef plant owned by Brazilian meatpacker Minerva SA BEEF3.SA for a week, in the latest suspension amid concerns over coronavirus contamination in Brazilian meat plants.

The Chinese customs authority said in a statement on its website dated Wednesday that the suspension would take effect on Thursday and last for one week, after which imports could resume.

The statement did not give a reason for the suspension and identified the facility by its registration number as a plant in the Barretos municipality of Sao Paulo state.

According to a Chinese customs statement issued on Thursday, the authority said the suspension came after a package of frozen boneless beef from Minerva SA had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Minerva declined to comment. The company is South America’s largest exporter of beef, with China being the largest importer of Brazilian meat.

As the coronavirus ravaged Brazilian meat facilities with thousands of cases, China has halted meat imports from Brazilian food processors including Marfrig MRFG3.SA, JBS SA JBSS3.SA and BRF SA BRFS3.SA over contamination concerns in the past few months.

Not including the weeklong Minerva temporary suspension, a total of seven Brazilian meat plants remain suspended from exporting to China, with some of them having stopped shipments voluntarily, according to Chinese customs office records.

Marfrig’s chief executive said on Tuesday that he expects China to issue new export licenses to Brazilian and Argentine meat plants later this year, but did not give further details.

(Reporting by Nayara Figueiredo and Jake Spring, and Muyu Xu in Beijing Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

((jake.spring@thomsonreuters.com; +55 61 99653-2429; Reuters Messaging: jake.spring.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net / Twitter: https://twitter.com/jakespring))

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