ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The temporary closure of a nationwide movie theater chain is expected to result in the indefinite closure of three theaters in Alaska’s largest city.

A trio of Regal Cinemas theaters in Anchorage are scheduled to close Thursday, The Anchorage Daily News reported Monday.

Regal, part of the Cineworld Group, said in a statement it will suspend all operations in the U.S. and the United Kingdom beginning Thursday.

Regal is the second-largest cinema chain in the U.S. and initially closed throughout the country in March in accordance with health mandates to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The three Anchorage theaters — at the Dimond Center mall, the Tikahtnu Commons shopping center and Muldoon Road — as well as a Regal theater in Fairbanks, have since reopened.

The new closure will leave only Regal’s Century 16 and XD theater in Anchorage open with new safety measures including mandatory face masks.


Numerous movie premieres have been postponed during the pandemic and keeping theaters open is difficult without new releases, the company said.

Regal has experienced significant financial losses since the coronavirus outbreak.

It was not immediately clear how many people are employed in Alaska by the Cineworld Group, but the closure impacts 45,000 employees throughout the company.

A decision about reopening will heavily rely on when “studios are able to bring their pipeline of major releases back to the big screen,” CEO Mooky Greidinger said in the company’s statement.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.