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Abbeygate Cinema in Bury St Edmunds calls for support amid coronavirus fallout



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An independent Bury St Edmunds cinema is imploring customers to not forget about them, warning if business does not improve they could go the same way as Cineworld, which took the decision to close all UK outlets on Thursday.

The Abbeygate Cinema, in Hatter Street, has been offering a series of promotions since welcoming customers back in early July, including an extension on the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme in its restaurant and bar.

But despite their best efforts, they say they will go the same way as Cineworld unless business improves and more customers come through their doors.

The Abbeygate reopened in July after lockdown. Picture by Mark Westley.
The Abbeygate reopened in July after lockdown. Picture by Mark Westley.

They have already taken the decision to close on Mondays, and warned that could be increased should things not get better.

Chris Peters, project manager, said: “The last couple of days have seen tumultuous announcements from film distributors and fellow exhibitors alike.

"We feel for every cinema job affected - but we face the same challenges and difficulties - and unless we see a renewed effort from our loyal customers to attend our screenings and eat in our restaurant, we will go the same way.

The independent cinema has already decided to close on Mondays.
The independent cinema has already decided to close on Mondays.

“We are already switching to partial opening during the week, to currently stay closed on Mondays, but that could be increased.

"We want to build our way out of this - we’ve currently got 50 film and event titles on sale over the coming weeks which when you consider the state of the film release schedule is quite something.

“We hope there’s something there that appeals, but people have got to buy tickets and come and visit us.”

The cinema’s six-week programme will feature films from the BFI London Film Festival 2020, special events, a series of timely documentaries, 80’s rewind season, classic Sunday screenings and more.

The cinema opened up its new premier screen at the end of July. Picture Bernard Wright.
The cinema opened up its new premier screen at the end of July. Picture Bernard Wright.

The attached No.4 Restaurant and Bar is also offering new menu items as part of their Eat Out to Help Out Scheme on Tuesdays and Wednesdays this month.

The appeal comes after Cineworld, one of the world’s biggest cinema companies, announced it would be temporarily closing all of its UK cinemas from today.

The release of Bond film No Time To Die was delayed for the second time because of Covid-19, which proved a hammer-blow for the cinema owner struggling with reduced footfall.

The Abbeygate has also extended the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme into this month. Picture by Mecha Morton.
The Abbeygate has also extended the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme into this month. Picture by Mecha Morton.

Cineworld said on Monday: “Without these new releases, Cineworld cannot provide customers in both the US and the UK – the company’s primary markets – with the breadth of strong commercial films necessary for them to consider coming back to theatres against the backdrop of Covid-19.”

The cinema moved to reassure customers with unlimited membership.

Cineworld has temporarily closed all UK and US outlets. Picture Mark Westley.
Cineworld has temporarily closed all UK and US outlets. Picture Mark Westley.

They said: “If you pay for your Unlimited membership monthly, please be assured that we’ll not be taking any Unlimited payments during the closure.”

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