AMC reverses course, will require masks when theaters reopen

An AMC theater remains closed on March 17, 2020 in New York City.
Photo credit Victor J. Blue/Getty Images
By 1010 WINS

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- AMC on Friday said theatergoers must wear masks when some of its screens reopen next month, reversing its plan to simply “encourage” mask use in places where it is not required. 

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All AMC patrons will be required to wear masks when the chain’s theaters start to reopen on July 15, AMC’s CEO and president Adam Aron said in a statement released Friday. 

The reversal came a day after the chain said it would require mask use at theaters in parts of the country where masks are required by law, but would only “strongly encourage” mask use at theaters in places where masks are not mandatory. 

The initial decision, Aron said Friday, “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 masks.” 

“At AMC Theatres, we think it is absolutely crucial that we listen to our guests,” he said. “Accordingly, and with the full support of our scientific advisors, we are reversing course and are changing our guest mask policy.” 

On Thursday, Variety published an article in which Aron said the theater chain “did not want to be drawn into a political controversy.” 

“We thought it might be counterproductive if we forced mask wearing on those people who believe strongly that it is not necessary,” he said in the interview. “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,” he added. 

Alamo Drafthouse on Friday also announced that their patrons will be required to wear masks. 

"When we open, the safety of our teammates and guests cannot be compromised," the theater chain tweeted. "This is not political." 

"We will require that guests wear masks at the theater (except when eating/drinking)," the chain added. "Those without masks will be given one."