Theaters In England Could Reopen On May 17

The UK Government has announced its plans to ease lockdown, including the reopening of cinemas.

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Cinemas in England could reopen on May 17, following the government's announcement about the easing of lockdown restrictions. Prime Minister Boris Johnson laid out potential dates for the reopening of different parts of the economy.

Most of the dates in Johnson's announcement are dependent on a series of milestones being reached, as the UK's ambitious vaccination program continues throughout the spring and the nation's COVID-19 infection rate falls. Indoor hospitality, which includes cinemas, bars, and restaurants, are currently looking at May 17 as the day that they can open their doors once more. Drive-in theaters will be allowed to open from April 12.

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English theaters closed in December following a dramatic increase in COVID-19 infections and deaths. While the country was operating under a tier system prior to this, with a variation in restrictions depending on the infection rate in each area, the spring reopening of cinemas and other commercial businesses will be nationwide. Scotland and Wales have devolved governments, and are yet to announce their plans about easing lockdown.

Having been criticized about leaving lockdown too quickly last summer, the UK government has been very cautious in its approach to this next relaxation. The return of cinemas will be the fourth stage of reopening, following schools, outdoor sports, outdoor dining, and non-essential shops, and is dependent on clear evidence that deaths have reduced and hospitalizations have fallen dramatically.

The UK has the worst COVID-19 death rate in Europe, with over 121,000 mortalities recorded since last March. However, the vaccination program has been hailed as a success, with more people vaccinated so far than any other country in Europe. To date, over 17.7 million people--26% of the population--have been given at least one dose of the vaccine.

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