The last 24 hours have not been kind to AMC Theatres. Much like the rules laid out by Regal Cinemas and Cinemark, AMC announced its safety guidelines for when the cinema chain reopens in July. And much like its other competitors, AMC decided to not make wearing facemasks a requirement. However, the CEO said the choice was made to avoid “political controversy” and wasn’t prompted by safety issues. This prompted an extreme response on social media, with a large number of folks upset (including myself) that the company was seemingly prioritizing profits over public safety. Well, AMC heard your outrage and is changing.
On the heels of Alamo Drafthouse releasing a statement that the chain would require masks, it appears that AMC has decided to change its course and institute its own mask policy. Instead of only requiring masks where its legally enforced, AMC has announced that the chain will have a complete mask requirement for all guests who want to see films at the company’s thousands of locations.
“… it is clear from this response that we did not go far enough on the usage of masks,” the company announced. “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.”
The statement added, “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.”
As part of the changes, customers are allowed to bring their own masks from home, but if you arrive at an AMC without a mask, you’ll be asked to go get one or purchase one from the cinema for $1.00. Guests that choose not to buy a mask and don’t want to wear one “will not be admitted or allowed to stay.”
AMC is set to reopen a majority of its theaters on July 15.
Here’s the full statement (via THR):
“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.”