Movie fans got sobering news March 16, when Alamo Drafthouse announced it would close its theaters amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, two other Austin cinemas have taken similar action.


On March 17, both Violet Crown Cinema and AFS Cinema announced they would shut their doors for the near future, joining a growing list of Austin businesses and cultural centers taking steps to stem the tide of the disease caused by the coronavirus.


"The health and welfare of our guests and employees are always our first priority. With that in mind, and taking into account the latest recommendations by CDC to refrain from gathering in groups of more than 10 people, we have, with a heavy heart, decided to close all Violet Crown Cinema locations, effectively immediately," Violet Crown director of marketing and programming David Gil wrote in an email.


Violet Crown says it will "provide full refunds for all guests who have purchased tickets in advance. For those who purchased their tickets in person, please email the cinema directly and a staff member will assist you." Go to austin.violetcrown.com for more information.


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"In response to the COVID-19 outbreak and in the wake of changing circumstances daily, the AFS Cinema has made the decision to temporarily close effective Friday, March 20 until further notice," wrote Austin Film Society communications manager Brady Dyer in an email. "Following the recommendations of the CDC and Austin Public Health, the Austin Film Society believes the best course of action to keep the community safe is temporary closure."


AFS recommends anyone who bought a ticket in advance should go to austinfilm.org for refund information. Benefits for members of the film society will be on hold until the cinema reopens and will be "extended to make up for the period of closure."


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