• The U.K. will extend the country's insurance scheme for film and television until April 2021
  • The scheme will provide financial assistance to projects that incurred losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Actors who are 70 and above will receive compensation if the production is halted due to the global health crisis

The U.K. government has announced that it will be extending the country’s insurance scheme for film and television until April 2021.

The decision was made after the entertainment industry in the region suffered huge losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Variety reported. The initiative, which is known as the Film and TV Production Restart Scheme, comprises a £500 million ($676 million) fund to assure that production houses and projects will receive financial assistance in case of COVID-related losses.

As of late, 100 qualifying productions have been accepted under this program.

Apart from that, the government is also distributing £16 million ($21.6 million) in grants among independent movie theaters across the nation. The money has been distributed from the country’s $2.1 billion Culture Recovery Fund.

The U.K. also announced that the scheme will now benefit actors who are 70 or above. They will receive compensation if production is halted due to the global health crisis.

Speaking about the extension and the scheme, Oliver Dowden, the U.K.’s culture secretary, noted that this will be instrumental in saving the country’s independent cinemas.

“Alongside it, the extension of the Film and TV Production Restart Scheme means the U.K. will be producing even more great content as the cinema industry recovers, keeping us at the forefront of the creative industries,” Variety quoted Dowden as saying.

Numerous actors and actresses from the U.K. also voiced their opinion regarding the funds, saying that the move would be really helpful for local cinemas.

Iconic actor Michael Caine noted that local movie houses are a vital part of England’s culture and there is a need to support them in order to “keep the art of film alive.”

“The moving image has the power to change the way we think. The power to inspire; to delight, and to move. It happens to me all the time. The film is one of the most powerful and accessible art forms on earth — and for so many a local cinema is a place we know, love, and have grown up with,” Caine said in a statement.

Meanwhile, former Bond girl Gemma Arterton praised the fund allocation, saying that people need to come together and help the local theaters.

“As a child growing up in Gravesend, some of my fondest memories are the magic and wonder I felt going to my local cinema with my Dad. It felt like a special treat — an event. Sadly, that cinema has now closed . We have to support our local cinemas to make sure those special moments can be experienced by generations of children and adults alike, for years to come. Watching a film at home just isn’t the same,” Arterton added.

The U.K. has been witnessing a dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases because of a new mutation. The nation witnessed 35,928 news cases and 326 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking its infections tally to 2.04 million.

UK Theater
Pedestrians walk past the the Sondheim Theatre, where a performance of Les Miserables will be shown in London on December 15, 2020, before the theatre temporarily closes down ahead of fresh coronavirus measures are introduced for the capital amid rising novel coronavirus infection rates. - London will on December 16 face new tough restrictions as it follows swathes of Britain into the highest tier of containment, Tier 3, while the Netherlands was preparing to enter its strictest lockdown since the pandemic began, and New York City could also soon be facing a "full shutdown". (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images) Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images