The UK's largest cinema chain, Cineworld, has closed up all of its 147 venues, making over 5,500 staff redundant in the process.

News broke of Cineworld's decision to close last night in the UK Sunday Times, with staff on the ground in cinemas not being told about the closures until it was in the media. Parnell Street's Cineworld is now also set to close as part of the move.

According to various reports, Cineworld made the decision to shutter following Universal / MGM's decision to push 'No Time To Die' from its November release to April of next year. As well as this, Cineworld is also expected to write the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and describe the exhibition / cinema sector as "unviable" due to studios and distributors withholding major blockbusters from release.

Here in Ireland, cinema chains such as Odeon, Movies @, and IMC, have managed to remain open by showing classic movies and hosting themed nights. However, cinemas in Dublin have been ordered closed over Level 3 restrictions.

It's not yet known if and when Cineworld will reopen its doors in 2021, however the redundancy of venue staff is a blow to the industry that has already been under significant pressure since the pandemic began. Here in Ireland, Cineworld was one of the last cinemas to reopen after restrictions were initially eased, however it's understood this delay was due to renewal works being carried out in the venue.

So far, Cineworld has made no comment about the closures.