British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Monday there would be “tough times ahead” for businesses, as another international company announced it was suspending operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Johnson spoke with reporters as it was announced that Cineworld will temporarily close 127 theaters in Britain and 536 theaters in its U.S. Regal movie theater chain following news that the latest James Bond film will be postponed again.
The closings will affect 40,000 employees in the United States and 5,000 in Britain.
Johnson, while encouraging people to support their local movies theaters, said that despite government efforts to support jobs impacted by the pandemic, “clearly there are going to be tough times ahead.” He encouraged people to support their local movie houses that observe COVID-safe practices.
Johnson also acknowledged that more than 15,000 coronavirus cases had been missed and not been transferred into the computer database due to a technical glitch. He said the cases, which were all positive between Sept. 25 and Oct. 2, and their contacts had been identified once the error was discovered.
Johnson said the current infection rate in Britain was “pretty much where we thought we were,” and the next few days would tell whether the extra restrictions put in place in several parts of the country were working.
He said if people followed the measures put in place in their areas, the so-called “rule of six” — limiting gatherings to six or less — self-isolation following contact, masks and hand-washing, he had “no doubt that we will be able to get on top of it, as indeed we did earlier this year.”
“This is all very much in our hands collectively,” he said.