Following the Federal Government's advice to Australians encouraging the population to avoid indoor public gatherings of 100 persons of more Palace Cinemas has made the decision to close all cinemas from Thursday.
The closure will affect all of Palace Cinema's 16 locations for an indefinite period of time.
"We intend to re-open as soon as circumstances allow, with the usual rich selection of quality cinema and our much-loved international festivals," says Palace Cinemas.
Patrons who have booked tickets online for future sessions will be contacted shortly by Palace Cinemas and offered a full refund.
Those who have bought tickets in-person should contact their local Palace Cinema with images of their ticket and a refund form will be provided. Once returned a full refund will be issued.
"We sincerely thank you all for your patronage and support during this unprecedented time and our excellent staff for their efforts and dedication under challenging circumstances," says Palace Cinemas.
"Rest assured we will be back offering sublime entertainment and a place to indulge and escape when it is safe to do so."
Sydney Film Festival and Melbourne Comedy Festival cancelled
Organisers of the Sydney Film Festival - which was due to take place from June 3-14 - have decided to cancel the event for the first time in its history.
"The decision to cancel this year's Sydney Film Festival follows a review of the most up to date advice regarding ways to minimise the spread of the Coronavirus, and the New South Wales Public Health (COVID-19 Public Events) order banning events of 500 people, which is in place until 14 June," festival chair Deanne Weir, CEO Leigh Small and director Nashen Moodley said in a joint statement.
"In this rapidly evolving and unknown environment, the SFF board and management know this is the only responsible decision - albeit a devastating one. However, the health and safety of our community is our first concern.
"Sydney Film Festival plays a vital role in the Australian screen ecosystem and the Festival recognises the immense impact the cancellation will have on the filmmaking, exhibition and distribution community, as well as audiences, volunteers, sponsors, donors and staff."
The statement added the festival stands in solidarity with the filmmaking, festival and arts communities during this tumultuous time.
Meanwhile the Melbourne Comedy Festival, which was due to start next week, has also been called off.
Full refunds including fees will be given for tickets purchased directly through the festival's website, while refunds for tickets booked through other sites will be processed by the relevant ticketing agent.
"Some performances may be rescheduled to a date in the future. If this is the case, we will advise you by email of the rescheduled date," organisers said, while also offering comedy lovers the option of giving part of their refund as a donation to support the livelihoods of technical, box office, front of house, production and associated support staff, as well as the artists themselves.
Updated at 4:29pm AEDT on 18 March 2020.
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