Movie theatre chain Event Cinemas announced on Monday it is closing all of its New Zealand locations until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The impact of coronavirus is unprecedented and we could no longer guarantee the safety and wellbeing of our staff and customers which has always been our first priority," Carmen Switzer, Event Cinemas NZ general manager, said in a statement.
"We are committed to working openly and honestly with our people during this time, supporting them in the best way we can. We look forward to reopening with a strong blockbuster film line-up, and returning to employing staff in the local communities in which we operate."
The temporary closure includes all Event Cinemas in the country as well as the Embassy Theatre in Wellington and Rialto Cinemas in Dunedin and Newmarket, Auckland.
The company says all customers with tickets purchased during the closure period will be automatically refunded and get an email confirmation.
Rival cinema chain Hoyts NZ has not yet announced a shutdown, but has implemented a physical distancing policy that means customers can be assured they won't be sat next to, right in front of or directly behind a stranger.
The Hoyts NZ website also states that no session will sell more than 100 tickets and extra sanitising and cleaning practices are being undertaken.
Some independent cinemas in New Zealand have already closed due to the pandemic, including The Hollywood in Avondale, Auckland which played its last film until further notice over the weekend.