Coronavirus: Gene Siskel Film Center to close for three weeks

The arthouse is apparently the first movie theater in Chicago to shut down in response to the pandemic.

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Seats inside the Gene Siskel Film Center are seen at its opening in 2001.

Sun-Times file

In what appears to be the first in the battle against the coronavirus, a Chicago movie theater — the Gene Siskel Film Center — will be closing its doors Monday for what is expected to be a three-week hiatus.

The Loop movie house at 164 N. State — an esteemed showcase of foreign, indie and classic cinema — said it plans to reopen April 10 but warned in a statement that “this is a dynamic and unprecedented situation.” Screenings that had been scheduled during that time will be canceled or postponed.

The theater is in the midst of its popular, four-week Chicago European Union Film Festival.

Calls for tighter “social distancing” grew louder on Sunday, with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending that gatherings of 50 people or more be canceled or postponed over the next eight weeks.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted a shutdown order applying to all of the city’s movie theaters, nightclubs and concert venues, effective Tuesday.

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