- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
Belgium has become the latest European country to shut down cinemas, as well as concert halls and other entertainment venues, in an effort to stop the spread of the highly-contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus.
The Belgium government on Wednesday said it would close all movie theaters starting this weekend. Other measures, including banning sports fans from stadiums and tightening capacity restrictions for shops, are intended to prevent a new wave of omicron infections from swapping the country’s over-burdened health system. Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo did not rule out stricter restrictions should COVID-19 cases rise in the coming days.
Last weekend, the Netherlands and Denmark introduced similar restrictions, sending cinemas back into lockdown.
Theaters in Europe’s biggest territories — the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Russia — remain open, albeit often with restricted access for the untested or unvaccinated and with capacity restrictions and masking requirements. Germany has announced new COVID restrictions, which kick in on Dec. 28, but they will not include closing cinemas. In the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he will not introduce new measures to fight the spread of coronavirus before Christmas.
The shutdowns come just as the European box office appeared to be bouncing back, with Spider-Man: No Way Home scoring a huge first weekend across the continent. Exhibitors are counting on big crowds to come out for this weekend, too, with the release of The Matrix Resurrections.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day