The UK Cinema Association has said most cinemas will be ready to reopen by the end of June with restrictions in place.

It comes as Showcase Cinemas has said the date it is working towards potential reopening in England is July 4, following the Westminster advice, which currently differs from that in Scotland where lockdown measures remain in place.

Mark Barlow, general manager of Showcase Cinemas UK, said: “Since the lockdown started, we have been working on what measures will be implemented when we are allowed to reopen, for the comfort and safety of guests and employees alike.

"We have also been liaising throughout with the UK Cinema Association and the relevant authorities and will continue to do so until such time as we reopen, based on the latest government guidance.

"It is clearly dependent on many factors, but the most recent announcement from the government gave a proposed date of July 4 for leisure destinations that can implement social distancing and other safety measures to reopen, and this is what we are currently working towards."

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The measures include being able to restrict capacities per auditorium to maintain social distancing requirements, as well as staggered film start times on a reduced schedule, online bookings, contactless payments throughout, Perspex shields at all till points, and wipes and hand sanitiser stations located throughout our buildings.

Mr Barlow said: "We have also designed a comprehensive new cleaning programme and employee PPE requirements to ensure that our number one priority – the health and safety of everyone in our cinemas – is achieved. 

"Watching a film on the big screen is one of Britain’s biggest passions and we’re really excited that we will be able to welcome film fans back to our cinemas very soon.”

A spokesperson for the UK Cinema Association, said: "We have made clear to the UK Government – and the devolved Governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – that, on the basis of our understanding of the safeguards that will need to be in place before cinemas can safely open, most venues will be ready to do so by the end of June.

"The suggestion that this might be considered around July 4 for cinemas in England is therefore welcome.” 

National Express has started selling UK tickets as it plans to get its coaches back on the roads from July 1.

The company said customers could buy rides on a "core coach network".

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This will ensure that the relaunched services will respect Government guidance and advice and will focus on large and medium-sized cities and urban areas.

It came as the business revealed that revenue halved in April, compared to the same month last year.

The drop is in line with what National Express recently told shareholders to expect.
However, the company said that its Ebitda (a measure of earnings stripping out the effects of interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) was a little ahead of expectations.

This was because of Government and customer support, as well as a £100 million drop in monthly operating costs.

"This was further boosted by strong cash collections to drive positive cash flow for the month ahead of our expectations," the company said.

National Express added: "We have further improved our liquidity since our last update, and now have around £1.5 billion of cash and undrawn committed facilities."

Even as he asked those who cannot work from home to return to their jobs last Sunday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged them to stay away from public transport if possible.

National Express further revealed that it had won its first post-Covid US school bus deal after one of its rivals lost the contract because of disruption caused by the virus.

It is a five-year deal and follows recent contracts in Idaho, Alaska and California.
Lockdown measures are also being eased in Spain and Morocco, where National Express is strong.

William Hill will start to reopen its UK betting shops bit by bit in the second half of the year as it keeps an eye on developments in the US.

The betting giant revealed it would start a "staged opening" in the second six months of the year, which begins in July.

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However, it did not reveal when the first shops were likely to start inviting customers back in.

"We remain focused on player safety, employing ever more customer protection. We are taking care of our teams, securing as many employment opportunities as possible and we are ready to power up the business as soon as Covid-19 restrictions permit," said chief executive Ulrik Bengtsson.

Hundreds of bookmakers have closed their doors across the country as the Government has ordered non-essential businesses to remain shut to slow the spread of coronavirus.

It has had a major effect on William Hill's top line, the company revealed on Friday.

Total net revenue dropped by 57% in the seven weeks to April 28.

The US was the hardest hit, falling by 90%, while sports betting dropped 86% over the period.

Many sports have cancelled events altogether, giving punters little to bet on.
However some have found more obscure events, such as table tennis or emerging market football, causing online sports wagers to fall by less than expected, William Hill said.

Mr Bengtsson said: "We reacted quickly to the cancellation of sports activities and the closure of our retail estate. We took immediate measures to save costs, reduce cash outflow and minimise non-essential expenditure by negotiating with our suppliers, cancelling pay rises and executive bonuses and suspending the dividend."

He added: "Our ambition to build a digitally led, internationally diverse business of scale is proving beneficial during the disruption as our international online business has performed very strongly."