With cinemas ordered closed in six countries, including neighbouring Slovak Republic, local authorities in Poland have begun closing cinemas in some cities. The closures are part of an effort to contain the cpread of the Coronavirus responsible for the Covid-19 outbreak.
There is no country-wide decision to close cinemas and the closures are often done in conjuncture with restrictions or postponements of other sporting and cultural events and spaces. Typically the cinemas are independent or run by the municipal authorities, with none of the major multiplex chains (currently engaged in a pricing war) currently closing any of their sites.
So far we have found the following instances:
- Kino Baltyk in Raciborz has been ordered closed until further notice. It is one of a handful of cinemas that belongs to IF Silesia Films;
- Kino Muza in Poznan is closed 11-24 March, as will the culture centre Dom Tramwajerza, both owned by the City of Poznan, which is also closing its schools, pre-schools, swiming pools, zoos and more;
- Stargrad in Szczecin is closing its Stargardskie Centrum Kultury cinema, after two outbreaks in the city. Other cultural and sporting events also cancelled;
- The Dom Kultury (House of Culture) in Gorze is closing its cinema until further notice;
- In Mielc the Kino Galaktyka is closing and the mayor is calling for the cancellation of all culture event and for sporting events to be played without audiences;
- Poland’s second largest city of Lodz is closing all museums, theatres, ice rinks, houses of culture and any indoor gathering of more than 1,000 people.
However, not all cinemas are automatically closed even when there are closures and restrictions to other public gatherings. In Chelm the cinemas and school remain open, even as the city makes contingency plans for where to house patients during an outbreak. Although mass gatherings have been banned nation-wide in Poland, cinemas do not currently fall under this definition.
Poland’s bishops have called for more Masses as a response to the coronavirus epidemic.
Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, writing as the leader of the Polish bishops’ conference, has released a statement asking that the extra Masses be made available so that the congregations will be smaller.
Poland had 22 confirmed cases of Covid-19 as of 10 March 2020, with 220 suspected coronavirus infections in hospitals and around a thousand self isolating.