AMC Theatres Will Require Moviegoers To Wear Masks Upon Reopening After Outcry
On Friday, AMC Theatres announced that they will in fact require guests to wear masks when cinemas reopen in July. Just one day earlier, they had said masks wouldn't be mandatory due to "political" considerations.
AMC has reversed course one day after saying they wouldn't require moviegoers to wear masks when theatres reopen next month.
On Friday, AMC shared a new statement that revealed that mass public backlash against their optional mask policy—which was first announced on Thursday—prompted them to reconsider the decision.
AMC Theatres reverses optional mask policy
"This announcement prompted an intense and immediate outcry from our customers, and it is clear from this response that we did not go far enough on the usage of mask," the chain's statement said, according to EW.
"At AMC Theatres, we think it is absolutely crucial that we listen to our guests. Accordingly, and with the full support of our scientific advisors, we are reversing course and are changing our guest mask policy.
"As we reopen theatres, we now will require that all AMC guests nationwide wear masks as they enter and enjoy movies at our theatres. The speed with which AMC moved to revise our mask policies is a reflection of our commitment to the safety and health of our guests," AMC's statement concluded.
On Thursday, AMC Theatres had first revealed plans to reopen cinemas in mid-July without mandatory use of masks for customers. In an interview with Variety as part of the original announcement, CEO Adam Aron stressed that the decision was influenced by a disinterest in the political angles of mask wearing.
"We did not want to be drawn into a political controversy," Aron explained to Variety.
"We thought it might be counterproductive if we forced mask wearing on those people who believe strongly that it is not necessary. We think that the vast majority of AMC guests will be wearing masks. When I go to an AMC feature, I will certainly be wearing a mask and leading by example."
AMC faced backlash after not requiring masks
But the American company faced backlash immediately after revealing the optional mask policy. Many people, including well-known filmmakers, decried the policy, emphasizing that masks are a matter of public health and not one of politics.
Mike Flanagan (Doctor Sleep), James Mangold (The Wolverine, Ford v Ferrari), and JA Bayona (Jurassic World) were among the film personalities to speak out against AMC's no mask policy.
Variety's Twitter share of the first AMC announcement also got "ratioed," leading to a heated response in the article's comment section.
AMC Theater CEO Adam Aron says their cinemas won't require masks upon reopening because they didn't "want to be drawn into a political controversy" https://t.co/zNjy9wzGMK— Variety (@Variety) June 18, 2020
On Thursday, AMC Theatres unveiled plans to reopen 450 of its over 600 venues on July 15. They then project to be fully operational by July 24, when Disney's live-action Mulan remake will premiere. This plan appears set to continue forward, with the mask requirement being the only adjustment.
Moviegoers who frequent AMC Theatres should now plan to attend screenings with a mask as the chain reopens following the COVID-19 lockdown period.