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Gloucestershire Business News

Cineworld to hibernate - with thousands of job losses

Cineworld is to mothball all of its UK cinemas until at least next spring, with the loss of 6,000 jobs.

The chain, which has cinemas at Gloucester Quays and The Brewery Quarter in Cheltenham, said the staff will lose their jobs this week. Job losses will include third-party workers, like cleaners and security staff. It is hoped that they can be re-hired when the hibernation ends, as reported by Sky.

With many cinemas in the US still closed, and a fraction of the usual audiences going to UK cinemas, studios have been reluctant to release films. Without the new movies, few cinema goers have braved a return to the big screen since Cineworld reopened in the UK on 31st July.

It was announced at the weekend that the new James Bond film, No Time to Die, was being delayed for a second time and will now be released in April.

News of the extended shutdown will come as a big blow to other businesses within both Gloucester Quays and The Brewery Quarter. As leisure destinations, the cinema is a big draw, bringing people into the restaurants and bars.

Cineworld has invested huge amounts of money in both cinemas in recent years - Gloucester's cinema moved to the Quays in 2013 from the nearby Peel Centre after a £60m investment. Last year, Cheltenham's cinema had a multimillion pound extension and refurbishment, including a new 4DX screen and ViP area, to replace the former Screening Rooms cinema.

Cineworld staff have been on furlough since March, but with the scheme coming to an end, they now face a tough jobs market. The Job Support Scheme, to be introduced next month won't apply to the company's employees, as it will only support the wages of staff in viable employment, working reduced hours.

Cineworld said it is planning an incentive scheme to get staff back when it reopens. It is not yet clear when that will be.

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