Entertainment Holdings Inc AMC.N said Friday it would require guests to wear face masks at all of its USA movie theaters when they reopen in July, a reversal of a policy from a day earlier that prompted a swift backlash.
AMC says patrons will now be required to wear masks when their theaters reopen next month - less than a day after they said they would defer to local governments on the issue.
The announcement was in contrast to comments Aron made in an interview with Variety on Thursday, where he stated he did not wish to become caught up in a "political controversy" over mask-wearing. We thought it might be counterproductive if we forced mask wearing on those people who believe strongly that it is not necessary. Cinemark, Regal, and Marcus are all encouraging customers to wear masks, but will not require them if it is not mandated by state or local governances.
Before announcing the new mandatory mask requirements, AMC explained their line of thinking for not originally going that way. Cinemark came out first and said that wearing a mask will be encouraged, but not enforced, leaving the guest to decide. "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", Aron said in a statement released today.
All employees will be required to wear face masks, as well. Customers who don't wear masks won't be admitted or allowed to stay.
The CDC and World Health Organization both recommend wearing face masks in public to slow the spread of Covid-19.
AMC is starting to re-open theaters on July 15. Variety reports AMC plans to sell masks for a dollar to guests who forgot one, but could it not replace the money that comes from concessions?
In phase 1, beginning July 15, ticket availability in all AMC auditoriums will be capped at 30% of the normal seating capacity and it will block every other row in non-recliner auditoriums. But while coronavirus cases are falling in former epicenters like NY, states like Florida and Arizona, which re-opened their businesses early, are seeing a rise in cases, and if that continues, it's not good news for businesses like AMC Theatres.