A Harvard expert who advised AMC Theatres on their reopening plans wanted them to include mandatory masks. Joseph Allen was brought in to consult with the chain before they solidified their strategy for opening the doors again. Well, his pleas went unheard and there was a social media outcry when AMC unveiled their plans this week. July 15th is reopening day, and now the company has changed course after a bunch of users made their opinions known on the Internet. California actually announced that masks will be mandatory for all public spaces, and there were concerns that instances like that one in the theater chain would pop up across the state.
AMC said on Twitter, "We are delighted to announce that AMC will resume theatre operations beginning 7/15, rolling out in advance of @DisneysMulan and @TENETFilm. AMC will implement a comprehensive health and sanitation program."
Variety spoke to AMC CEO Adam Aron about the question of masks and the executive talked about wanting to remain neutral.
My advice to companies, organizations, individuals, has been the same since I wrote this piece back in early April.
Mask wearing is a critical part of a holistic risk reduction strategy.
Wear a mask, folks. Protect others, and yourself.https://t.co/bmtqhJiDFY— Joseph Allen (@j_g_allen) June 19, 2020
"We did not want to be drawn into a political controversy," Aron said. "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."
"We didn't rush to reopen," he continued. "There were some jurisdictions in some states, such as Georgia and Texas, that allowed people to reopen theaters in mid-May. We opted to remain closed, so we could give the country time to get a better handle on coronavirus. We wanted to use this time to figure out how best to open and how to do so safely."
"In my heart of hearts, I think we can manage AMC through this crisis," Aron added. "There are no guarantees and nobody knows what coronavirus will look like in the winter or how long it will take to get a vaccine, but I can tell you that we have a very able management team here. We're going to make every effort to make sure that AMC continues to be well positioned as a leader of the movie theater industry."
Will you be visiting a theater soon? Let us know in the comments!