March 16, 2020 / 10:07 PM / in 15 days

Regal Cinemas closes over 500 theaters as coronavirus spreads

March 16 (Reuters) - Regal Cinemas said on Monday it has temporarily closed all its over 500 theaters in the United States, to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

The theater chain, which operates over 7,000 screens in 42 states, last week halved capacity to allow more space between moviegoers as part of social distancing.

“At this time, we have made the difficult decision to close our theaters,” said Mooky Greidinger, chief executive officer of its UK-based parent Cineworld.

Showcase Cinemas, owned by National Amusements, also said it would close its theaters in North America and is expected to resume operations by April 7.

U.S. consumers have been advised to stay indoors, work from home and avoid gatherings as the coronavirus has spread rapidly in just weeks, infecting nearly 4,000 and killing about 70.

Theaters have remained open in times of national crisis in the United States, including after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and during World War II.

Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.

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