After much controversy, AMC Theaters is reversing course on not requiring guests to wear masks at its theater locations, which are planned to re-open starting July 15th. Not only did AMC's original protocols for re-opening not require theatergoers to wear protective masks, AMC CEO Adam Aron sparked backlash when he claimed that 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." In a new statement, AMC says that after consulting with scientists and health experts, it's rethinking its COVID-19 safety protocols.
As you can read below, the statement from AMC Theaters is slightly ridiculous, basically stating that the company has talked to scientists and health officials and determined that masks are good in the prevention of COVID-19 infection. Of course, in true corporate double-talk, AMC basically says that it will require masks in areas of the country where COVID-19 numbers are spiking, but will only "strongly encourage it" in areas where the level of infection remains low and quarantine restrictions are relaxed.
In other words: the same social battles over masks will simply now extended to movie theaters, as well. It should make for an even more fun viewing experience!
You can read the full statement from AMC Theaters, below:
"At AMC, we have been consulting with top scientists and health experts to create a broad, sweeping, far-reaching health and safety effort to make AMC Theatres safe for our guests and associates when our theatres reopen in July. Among many elements of that comprehensive plan was a requirement for our associates all to wear masks nationwide, as well as a requirement for our guests all to wear masks in the many parts of the country that will require it. In those areas of the country where masks will not be required, we nonetheless planned to strongly encourage mask usage by guests, and fully expected that the vast majority would do so. That policy on guest mask usage, which is directly comparable with our major competitors and many other highly regarded retailers, was announced yesterday afternoon.
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 masks. 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.
We will constantly monitor the scientific community’s latest thinking as to the efficacy of mask usage. We also will be looking at the varying health conditions in specific localities around our theatres all across the country. This will help us to determine what our mask policy will be as we go forward, as well as to make any other needed changes to this policy.
Guests coming to our theatres may bring their own masks of course, but for those who do not have one, masks will be available at our theatre box offices at a nominal $1.00 price. Those who are unwilling to wear a mask will not be admitted or allowed to stay."