In accordance with guidance set out by the government, many restrictions brought into place due to the COVID-19 pandemic have been lifted across the country from Monday 19th July. This includes the restrictions surrounding cinemas and they have been permitted to return to full capacity from 19th July.

The Bigger Picture have compiled information regarding governmental announcements surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic here. The Independent Cinema Office have also created an extensive list of resources to provide support and advice regarding COVID-19 which you can read here.

With cinemas beginning to return to full capacity across the country, audiences and exhibitors will be looking to stay safe and make sure that cinemas remain a safe place to visit as time goes on. This page is a resource for exhibitors and audiences alike to learn what measures are being put in place to keep audiences safe in light of indoor cinemas reopening at full capacity.


It is important for your cinema to adhere to safety guidance outlined by the government. Cinemas – keeping workers and customers safe during COVID-19, has been produced by the UK Cinema Association in consultation with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with input from the BFI, the Independent Cinema Office and BECTU, and in consultation with Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive. An update is coming soon for this resource and this link will be updated when that update occurs. The guidelines have been developed to provide a starting point for cinemas across the UK in ensuring the continued safety of both audiences and staff in relation to COVID-19.

The government's official guidance has been updated to provide information regarding advice and restrictions surrounding how businesses operate in this stage of governmental restrictions. This page features information on risk assessments, how to protect your customers and your workforce as well as policy regarding face coverings, Coronavirus testing, self-isolating and how to report COVID-19 cases within the workplace.

The Film Exhibition Fund was created to support organisations as they restart in-person screenings of British, international and independent cinema. Funding of up to £5,000 is available for activity taking place between June 2021 - March 2022. Support can go towards a range of costs – such as programming, marketing and staffing - on projects which present culturally valuable film programmes and broaden audiences for independent cinema.

If you work in cinema, the current situation may be making you feel anxious. But it’s important to remember that you’re part of a creative community, and support is available. The Film & TV charity have created an important resource which centres on wellbeing for cinema workers. Speak to your employer about guidance and resources they might be able to offer. To access the resource and more information on support click here.

Exterior of The Lexi Cinema in Brent


The latest government guidance regarding COVID-19 can be found here.

If you are yet to return to the cinema, you may wish to know in advance the safety measures that are being put in place to protect you. Cinemas – keeping workers and customers safe during COVID-19 provides the most comprehensive look at the measures being put in place by cinemas. A full list of upcoming major releases can be found here.

As outlined by the UK government, from 19th July there is no longer a legal requirement for staff and customers to wear face coverings in any setting, so you should review the official advice on face coverings (e.g. masks).

Many cinemas may still encourage customers and visitors to wear face coverings and the government recommends that people should continue to wear them in crowded and enclosed settings, to protect themselves and others.